Korean War vet, master electrician dies from COVID-19

Berkeley Brean
Updated: May 12, 2020 06:34 PM
Created: May 12, 2020 03:51 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Nearly 70 years ago, a young man from Rochester was fighting for our country in Korea.  

He survived the war. He survived cancer. 

But now, William Saturno is among the more than 240 people killed by the coronavirus in our region.

"And being that he's going to be a COVID death, and he's going to be remembered as such is kind of like, it's just a chilling thought," his daughter Ann Marie Booth said.

Saturno died inside the Brightonian, his nursing home on Elmwood Avenue in Brighton since last fall. 

He grew up in Rochester, one of five brothers and two sisters, with a penchant for mischief like "The Little Rascals." 

"He was like the Spanky of the group," Booth said. 

Saturno graduated from Franklin High School, signed up for the Air Force and served two years in Korea. He came home to be a master electrician and started a family. 

Booth's fondest memory is her dad walking her down the aisle. 

"And he turned to me and said to me very quietly if I had any second thoughts it was a good time now, that he would take me now out the door, and we would hop in the limousine," Booth said breaking into a laugh. "He was always a character. Very serious, but he had his moments when he wanted to be a dad, just a dad."

Saturno tested negative for COVID-19 about two weeks ago, but then his health started failing. Booth and her son, Nick, were allowed to visit him Friday, the same day he was re-tested. 

Nick Booth told his grandfather he would call the following day even though he knew his grandfather couldn't answer. 

"But I told him, 'I know that you hear the phone ringing, so when you hear me call, just know that the ringing is me,'" Nick said as his voice broke with emotion. 

Saturno died early Sunday morning. Later that day, his test result came back positive. 

"They're not a number," Booth said. "They're not a statistic. They are someone that someone else cared about, and there's a great deal of people who cared about William."

Ten family members gathered for a viewing Tuesday. Booth says they'll have a proper funeral when the coronavirus pandemic is over. 

William Saturno was 86.

News10NBC wants to make sure that members of our community who pass away from COVID-19 are not just statistics. If you would like to share the story of your loved one, please email Berkeley at bbrean@whec.com.

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