Alexander Benisatto, a World War II veteran known in his family as a great storyteller and avid reader, died of cardiac arrest Monday. He was 90.
Benisatto was a part-time resident of Port Washington and spent part of the year in Marco Island, Fla.
"He was a very friendly guy, who loved telling stories," said his stepson, Ron Stovall, of Port Washington.
"When we went to Paris, people were impressed at how good his French was," she said, adding that her husband never took French classes but learned by being in Europe.
Benisatto also enjoyed reading and traveling, family members said. "He read books like crazy," his wife said.
Before developing Alzheimer's disease a few years ago, he would read at least three books a week, she said. His favorites were books about history and wars.
Benisatto was inducted into the Army in 1942 when he was 21. He took part in five major battles with the 749th Tank Battalion in Europe, according to his family.
After being discharged, Benisatto started working at the New York Stock Exchange and became a board of directors member at Quick and Reilly, where many co-workers considered him a mentor.
Friends at the brokerage firm set up a blind date for Benisatto and the former Stella Stovall 21 years ago, when they were both in their 60s. They married in 1998. Benisatto's first wife died many years before that, family members said.
Benisatto attended Fordham University for two years before joining the Army.
In addition to his wife and stepson, Benisatto is survived by his brother, Victor Benisatto, and sister, Matilda, both of Westchester; a stepdaughter, Laura Giordano, of Port Washington; and three grandchildren.