Samuel Benjamin Cortina, age 95, of Pennington, NJ, entered into God’s eternal rest on Saturday, February 6, 2021. Born and raised in Trenton, NJ, Sam was a lifelong area resident, residing in Mercerville for 56 years. He was a graduate of Trenton Central High School Class of 1943, he received his Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education from Trenton State Teachers College and his Masters in Education from Rutgers University. In high school he was All-State in both football and track. He captained the Trenton State Varsity Football team as a freshman, upon returning from WWII. Samuel was a teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent in the Trenton School system for over 40 years. Sam served as the Principal at Monument, Woodrow Wilson, and Grant Elementary Schools prior to serving as the Vice-Principal at Junior 2 and then as Principal at Junior 4.
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Sam served in the U.S. Coast Guard in the North Atlantic during World War II beginning in August of 1943 until his honorable discharge on April 1, 1946. Sam was involved in many civic and social activities in the Trenton area. He was associated with the Boys Club of Trenton and the Trenton Jewish Community Center “JCC” for over 20 years. He was a member of the Hamilton Knights of Columbus Council No. 6213 where he served as a 3rd Degree Knight, a member of the D.A.V. Chapter 41 of Hamilton, a member of the V.F.W. Post 3525 of Hamilton, and a member of the FERMI Federation. He was a member and Official Emeritus of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. He was certified as an NJSIAA football official in 1949 and also administered the NJ State Cadet Training Program that trained others to become football officials. Sam officiated football and track on the field well into his 80’s, at the concern of his children, for a total of almost 60 years. As a concession, he resigned to running the clock for the remainder of his career. A lifelong learner, it was necessary for him to learn how to use the computer and the Internet in order to receive his scheduling assignments for track and football.
Sam was a parishioner of Our Lady of Sorrows Church since 1961. He was a loving and devoted son, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle, friend and mentor to many.
Son of the late Luigi and Mary (DeReno) Cortina; husband of 70 years to the late Gilda (DiPastina) Cortina; brother of the late Gino, Pasquale “Pat”, Louis Cortina, and Antonia (Cortina) Frascella; Samuel is survived by his four children, Dr. Gary A. Cortina and wife Leslie, Dr. Gregory S. Cortina and wife Donna, Jane R. Cortina-Demorest and husband Mark Demorest, Dr. Karen G. Cortina Davis and husband Mike Davis; seven grandchildren, Michael Cortina, Christopher Cortina and wife Jamie, Douglas Cortina, Brian Cortina and wife Cathie, Matthew Cortina, Lauren Williams and husband Jeff, Gregory Davis and wife Rachel; six great-grandchildren, Samuel, Ben, Julia, Lily, Rowen, and Brooke; sisters-in-law, Florence and husband Andy DePativo, and Dorothy Cortina (Gino); and cousin, Pasqualino “Lino” Cortina and wife Geri; as well as many nieces, nephews and other family and friends.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 11:00 AM at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 3816 E. State St. Ext., Hamilton, NJ. Entombment will follow in Greenwood Cemetery, 1800 Hamilton Ave., Hamilton, NJ. There will be no calling hours. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Parkside Brenna-Cellini Funeral Home, 1584 Parkside Ave., Ewing, NJ 08638. Please visit Samuel’s tribute page at www.brennacellinifuneralhomes.com.