Santino “Sandy” Thomas Serpento, 97, departed this life on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Morgantown.
Mr. Serpento was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Angela Delorenzis Serpento; brothers, Silvio “Bernie” Serpento and Joseph Serpento; and sisters, Julia Merbedone and Mabel Sementa. He is survived by his son, Stan T. Serpento; daughter-in-law, Mary Margaret Serpento; and sisters-in-law, Dolores Overly and Esther Delorenzis. Surviving nieces and nephews include Carol Delorenzis, Jeannie, Thomas, James and David Serpento, Damon Delorenzis, Dr. Amadee Merbedone, Angela Merbedone and Jeffrey Arnett, Christina Merbedone and Andrew Byrd, Matthew and Jennifer Merbedone, Marilyn and Craig Brant, Cristine and Russell Elmore, Capt. Suzette Inzerillo (U.S. Navy), Joseph and Patricia Merbedone, Richard and Amy Sementa and their families. He also leaves many relatives from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, West Virginia, Rome and the Abruzzo and Marche regions of Italy.
Mr. Serpento was born Feb. 24, 1924, in York Run, Pa., the son of Luigia and Bernardino Serpento. In World War II, he served with the U.S. Third Infantry Division, 10th Field Artillery Battalion, participated in the behind-the-lines landing at Anzio, Italy, in January 1944 and served in its aftermath until injured in action in May 1944 while advancing toward Rome. He later rejoined his division and participated in the D-Day landing in southern France. He also served in the Eastern France and Germany campaigns.
In 1953, Mr. Serpento received a bachelor’s degree in education from Waynesburg University and master’s degree in education. He was employed 1953–60 as a rehabilitation counselor with the West Virginia State Board of Vocational Education field office in Morgantown.
In 1960, he was appointed as a personnel assistant at West Virginia University, where he assisted in evaluation and placement of non-teaching-job applicants at the University Hospital and other university divisions where full-time support staff grew to over 4500 employees by 1975. In 1964, he was appointed Director of Personnel. Mr. Serpento was co-founder of the University Staff Council, the channel of communication between the university administration and support staff. He also served as the university’s representative in meetings with Local 814 of the Laborers’ International Union. He authored the University’s first EEO-Affirmative Action Plan and served as its first EEO-Affirmative Action Coordinator along with his regular duties. In 1985, he served as senior associate administrator with responsibilities in employee and union relations. In 1988, he was appointed interim assistant vice president of human resources until his retirement in 1990.
For several years after retirement, Mr. Serpento served as a vocational consultant for many West Virginia lawyers and provided vocational testimony at Social Security Disability hearings. In 1997, he received the Mertins Leadership Award for Staff Advocacy from the University for his developmental work in employee relations, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action planning and in the implementation of the programs.
Mr. Serpento was a life member of the National Rehabilitation Association in its Job Placement Division as well as a member of the National College and University Personnel Association, where he served as Chair for the Eastern Collegiate Region in 1979. He was licensed in West Virginia as a professional counselor and was a former diplomat of the American Board of Vocational Experts. As a life-long advocate of employment of qualified persons with disabilities at the university and surrounding area, Mr. Serpento participated in community action projects.
Mr. Serpento enjoyed studying European history and travel, focusing on Italy, World War II and family genealogy. He was also an amateur artist.
A private family visitation will be held at Hastings Funeral Home with a private graveside service to follow at East Oak Grove Cemetery with the Rev. Msgr. Anthony Cincinnati, STD, VE officiating. Military honors are being provided by the WV Honor Guard, Camp Dawson.
Memorial Mass will be held at a later date to be announced.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made to one of the following organizations:
WVU Foundation Inc., P.O. Box 6250, Morgantown, WV, 26507
WVU School of Medicine, Hearing Research Laboratory, Department of Otolaryngology, Health Sciences Center, P.O. Box 9100, Morgantown, WV, 26506