Lawrence DeSantis, co-owner of the Brass Rail Tavern in Bound Brook for more than forty years, died peacefully at his home in Bound Brook on December 4, 2017, after a long illness. He was ninety-one. When his father died in 1950, Larry took over the Brass Rail with his brother, Joseph DeSantis, who died in 2006. He was well prepared to run the family business because he had cleaned clams for Friday night clam bakes, washed dishes, cleaned spittoons, and did whatever he could to help since the age of eight.
His parents, Blandina (nee Voli) and Giuseppe "Red" DeSantis, emigrated from San Nicola, Italy, to Bound Brook in 1925. They converted the old Talmage Avenue Blacksmith Shop to Red's Pool Parlor and Tobacco Shop. After Prohibition ended in 1933, the Parlor was given the borough's second liquor license and the name was changed to the Brass Rail.
Larry became friendly with the residents of Bound Brook at an early age. A popular businessman from 1948 through 1992 (customers called him "Larry Brass" and "Moe"), he emerged as a vital part of the Bound Brook community, supporting local causes, sports teams, and events.
A lifelong resident of Bound Brook, he was delivered by a midwife on February 20, 1926, at the Bound Brook Hospital, on the northwest corner of West Maple Avenue and Church Street. He graduated from Bound Brook High School in 1943, then enlisted in the United States Coast Guard as an Apprentice Seaman. He achieved the rank of Radioman Third Class, and served from 1943 - 1946, during World War II, in a program that cracked enemy codes. During the Great Atlantic Hurricane on September 14, 1944, he was a Coast Guard first responder who helped evacuate scores of amputees and other wounded veterans from the Thomas England General Hospital in Atlantic City, the largest military hospital in the country at the time (in a building complex that would later house Resorts Casino).
Larry cherished his life and work in Bound Brook and often remarked, "It is the best place on earth." He was grateful for the friendships created in the Brass Rail, the Bound Brook neighbors who treated him like family, and his fellow members of the American Legion, Giles-Biondi Post 63.
He is survived by his devoted wife of sixty-two years, the former Olga "Honey" Uken; his daughter, Sheryl DeSantis, a former Somerset County Municipal Court Judge; his daughter, Robyn DeSantis Ringler; his son-in-law, Dr. Robert P. Ringler; his granddaughter, Lily Ringler, who adored him; a niece, Lynn DeSantis Harac, and a nephew, Joseph DeSantis, Jr.
Friends and relatives may call Friday, December 8, 2:00 - 4:00 or 6:00 - 8:00 P.M. at the funeral home. Funeral service is on Saturday, December 9, at 11:00 A.M., at the funeral home. Interment will be private. Please bring stories and memories of Larry in lieu of flowers