Juan Santiago Betancourt

On Thursday, May 30, 2024, at 8:55 AM, God called Home one of his most greatest and admired soldiers, Juan Santiago Betancourt, also known as Carlos.

Carlos was born on May 5, 1951, in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, to Felix Santiago Marin and Marcela Betancourt. At the age of nine, he relocated with his younger sister, Zoraida, to Brooklyn, New York, and lived with their older sister, Lallin. There, Carlos attended Thomas Jefferson High School and eventually enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He was on active duty for a total of two years, as a Combat Engineer, and served one year in the Republic of Vietnam as a proud Marine. Carlos was commended and awarded four different medals of honor, including a certificate for “his resolute determination and steadfast devotion to duty, along with saving the lives of his comrades during the Vietnam War.” Carlos had greatly sacrificed himself while in the line of duty. To commend his endurance, he was praised with the Purple Heart medal, making his family and those around him proud and inspired.

Carlos was wounded in combat, honorably discharged, and returned to his home in Brooklyn, New York where he found work as a bank teller, then in the neighborhood pharmacy. In that neighborhood, Carlos became highly recognizable in the community, making him a friend and companion to anyone that would come around.

He married his love, Luz Maria Muñoz, on May 29, 1971, and they resided with their beautiful, loving daughters Denise and Lisa, in Brooklyn. With his diligence and strong ambition, Carlos became a staple in his community while working at Lawrence Pharmacy. At the time, he also worked with the New York City Transit Authority, first, as a token booth clerk, then as a train operator driving the New York City Subways.

Carlos was a devoted and enthusiastic soldier of the church and for many years was an active parishioner of Our Lady Of Mercy Church serving as an usher, member of the Holy Name Society, and Cursillos de Cristiandad movement. He also participated in the church’s Drama Club in which he played three roles: soldier, Pharisee and Jesus Christ, in plays we know and love.

Not only was Carlos a lifelong servant in the church, he was a very vigorous and active member in his community. He volunteered as the photographer in the Casa de Cursillo retreat house, was a transporter, taking the elderly to their appointments in the clinics, and was a chaplain. He would visit jails and patients in the VA hospital. Carlos received the honors of the Fourth Degree of the Knights of Columbus. His selfless sacrifices, wholeheartedness, and dedication are never forgotten as they’re exemplary to everyone he knew, especially his family.

He was preceded in death by Kaiden (grandson), Felix Santiago Marin and Marcela Betancourt (parents), Felix Juan Santiago (brother), Lallin Santiago (sister). He is survived by his dear children, Denise Santiago, Lisa Santiago-Cuba and Carlos Juan (CJ) Santiago, who will always remember what an amazing father he was to them and his grandchildren, Karina, Katrise, Nicolette, Alyssia, Ezekiel and great grandson, Liam. He is also survived by his siblings, Fela, Zoraida, Oscar “Carlito” and Angel “Chimney”.

Carlos was a father figure to others, in which he took under his wing and cared for like his very own: Francis, Wanda, Christina, Orlando, Jeremy, Christopher and Luz Maria Villanueva. He loved his nieces, nephews and caretakers dearly, and became a supportive mentor for his family to look up to. He was not only a loving father, but a loyal friend. There wasn’t anything that Carlos wouldn’t do to protect and give his family. ALL will continue to honor his legacy by living their lives to the fullest and relishing in the joys of family.

Carlos will always be remembered as a patriarch in our family. Also as a charismatic, endearing, and giving soul with a heart of gold, not only to his country, but to his church, his community, and to the people he held nearest to his heart. Carlos’ most favorite times filled with love and laughter, were of him playing dominoes and dancing to Motown music while being surrounded by his closest friends and family. He enjoyed watching Westerns, playing lotto and talking about his children.

A pillar of strength and a beacon of love, his absence leaves a void in our hearts. To commemorate his remarkable life and the memories we cherish, we welcome all who knew him to join us in celebrating the life of a man who was loved deeply and will be missed profoundly.

Friends and family will gather on Saturday, June 8th, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Newcomer, 895 South Goldenrod Rd., Orlando to celebrate his life.

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