Medina Restaurateur Serves Gift of the Heart to Honor Parents


​George Santosuosso, owner of the popular Italian restaurant Santo Suosso’s in Medina, sent his parents the ultimate valentine. John and Florence Santosuosso, married 69 years, had both received care from Hospice of the Western Reserve. His mother died at age 89 in 2015, followed by his father last year at age 91. The restaurateur decided to honor their memory by donating and serving a Valentine’s Day dinner to hospice patients and their families at the Hospice of Medina County Care Center.

Santosuosso and his culinary staff prepared two of the specialties of the house: Chicken George and Rigatoni with Vodka Sauce, accompanied by tossed salad and fresh green beans. Petit fours were served for dessert. Scoperta Importing, Inc., donated a variety of fine wines. Hospice of Medina County volunteers staffed the dinner, created centerpieces and helped to serve the meals. 

Santosuosso explained that holidays and birthdays always held special meaning for his parents so it is particularly meaningful for him to honor them on Valentine’s Day.

“During their 69 years of marriage, they never missed a single holiday or birthday. They always made it a point to be together,” he said.

He shared a conversation he had with his father on the final day of his life:
“Dad’s birthday was on St. Patrick’s Day and I was visiting him the day before. The hospice team had notified our family that he was declining and might not have much more time. I remember sitting by his bed and holding his hand. I said: ‘Dad, tomorrow is your birthday. Is there anything special you’d like?’ He opened his eyes and he had a smile on his face. He said, ‘George, I have a date with your mother and you’re not invited.’  He passed away later that evening.”

Santosuosso said he feels honored to provide the dinner, and he encourages other restaurants to support the program.

“For many of these families, it will be the last dinner they will enjoy together. Knowing I had the privilege of providing it means a lot to me, both personally and spiritually. 

“My parents, my sister and my two brothers and I have always been a very close family. What hospice did for us was very special. They cared for our mother and father as if they were their own parents. They cried with us, laughed with us and felt pain with us. They became a part of our family.” 

About Meal to Remember
Meal to Remember is a program which has been bringing Cleveland’s top chefs to Hospice of the Western Reserve’s two in-patient care centers - David Simpson Hospice House in Cleveland and Ames Family Hospice House in Westlake - since 2012.  Santo Suosso’s is the first restaurant to provide a Meal to Remember to patients and families at the Hospice of Medina County in-patient care unit since Hospice of Medina County became a Hospice of the Western Reserve affiliate. More Meal to Remember events are planned for Medina in the months ahead.  

The dinners are held to honor patients and their loved ones, the importance of family dinners and the memories surrounding those moments. Sharing a special meal around a dinner table provides each patient and their loved ones with a wonderful memory to cherish.

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