John Vincent Costanza, a former Little Neck resident involved in area civic and cultural groups and politics, died May 11. He was 93.
He was born in Hazelhurst, Pa., June 25, 1918, and raised there and in other Pennsylvania and West Virginia towns.
Costanza received a scholarship from Bethany College in West Virginia and studied a year abroad at the University of San Marcos in Lima, Peru, improving his Spanish and learning about Peruvian culture and history. When World War II started, he left college and was posted to New York City to teach other servicemen Spanish en masse at Queens College in preparation for the potential retaking of continental Europe by the Allies through a Spanish landing instead of via Normandy in France.
While there, Costanza met Brunnhilde Stein. They kept in touch as he was posted to the Pacific Theater to serve in communications in the Okinawa campaign and the Korean Theater. After demobilization, John and Stein married and in the early 1950s settled in Little Neck.
He earned a master’s degree from Columbia University in the history of Spanish colonial trade in Florida. Costanza was an editor with Keller Publishing Co. of Manhattan and then of Great Neck, L.I.
He was predeceased by his wife and survived by their three children, two grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Costanza was buried in a military service at Calverton National Cemetery, in Calverton, L.I. Donations in his memory may be made by check, phone or PayPal to Alley Pond Environmental Center, 228-06 Northern Blvd., Douglaston, NY 11362.
©2012 Community News Group
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