Marie Josephine “Tikie” Santo

Marie Josephine “Tikie” Santo, 99 of Falls City, NE, passed away on November 23, 2020, in Falls City, NE. She was born November 22, 1921, to John Florer Watkins and Velma (Bradburry-Watkins) Wamsley.

She married Ralph Antone Santo on October 21, 1941.

Marie is survived by her children Judith (Santo) Koester and husband Leo of Tuscon, AZ, Marilyn (Santo) Gerdes and husband Dan of Auburn, NE, Rick Santo and wife Cindy of Verdon, NE, Mark Santo of Brookfield, MO, John Santo of Falls City, NE, Anita (Santo) Nolte of Falls City, NE, Matt Santo and wife Mimi of Lincoln, NE, 26 grandchildren, 50 great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren.

Marie is preceded in death by her husband Ralph Santo, her father, John Florer Watkins, mother Velma (Bradburry Watkins) Wamsley, sister Virginia Wiley, grandchildren Sgt. Nicholas Santo Nolte, Dillon Santo, Tracy Jo Santo, great-grandchildren Pete Santo, Theo Santo, son-in-law Bradley Nolte, and Eugene Strauss.

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice. This is a Native American proverb that Marie lived by. Marie was a certified member of the Osage Indian Tribe. She was proud of her Native American roots.

Marie “Tikie” Santo was a gifted woman with many talents. In her 60’s her daughter-in-law Cindy convinced her to pursue those talents and take art lessons, so she began taking classes at Tootie’s. From there, her family now has beautiful treasures hanging on their walls. 

She was a seamstress. She made her son Mark a tuxedo, her daughters’ prom dresses, her granddaughter Elizabeth’s wedding dress, suits for her grandsons and many beautiful garments.

She was a teacher of life lessons. Her children and grandchildren have learned a lot about life sitting in her sunroom visiting.

She was a self-taught hairdresser cutting all of her children’s hair. She even gave perms to the neighbor ladies. Marie always had her hair fixed beautifully. Her daughters have memories of her sitting in front of her vanity with her hair spray, ratting her hair into beautiful up-do’s. Her grandchildren remember her long hair that she would braid so beautifully.

Marie was a comforter to all, always having the best advice whether we wanted to hear it or not. Tikie knew best!

Marie was a wonderful cook making the world’s best spaghetti that she would always prepare for family gatherings. She was a cook of three meals a day, always ensuring her husband and children never went hungry.

She was a dedicated gardener with her husband, Ralph. They enjoyed gardening to feed their family throughout the year canning green beans, tomatoes and making pickles.

Marie had a passion for fashion and beauty. She applied her Avon make-up like an artist and always looked like a movie star. Her fashion sense was stunning. Her favorite ensembles were a chartreuse and baby blue outfit with matching purse and shoes and her silk pink shirt waist dress with a matching pink floral hat that many of her granddaughters have worn in photos. However, the most memorable ensemble was a two-piece yellow crash dress she was wearing when she met the love of her life, Ralph. She once said, describing that day, “I was dressed up, I looked good!”

But most of all, Marie was the best wife, mother, and grandmother, anyone, could ask for. Marie always said that she never wanted to forget any of her family member’s names or birthdays and she kept that memory until her ninety’s. She only needed coaching that last couple of years of her life.

Marie lived with fashion, flare, and grace all 99 years and one day of her life!

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, November 27, 2020, at 1:00 PM at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church with Father Lawrence Stoley as the presiding priest. Interment will be in Falls City Catholic Cemetery.

A Parish Rosary will be recited on Friday at 12:00 PM at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 1 hour prior to service.

Seating will be limited and masks are required; please follow distancing guidelines.

The service will be live-streamed on the church’s Facebook page:

Viewing will begin on Wednesday afternoon until 5:00 PM and on Thursday from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM at Dorr and Clark Funeral Home.

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