John Santore, Lad.5 (D) It seemed everyone in West Brighton knew John A. Santore as a figure larger than life. Problem-solver, husband, father, decorated firefighter and the founder of a group that built a home for the John A. Noble Maritime Museum at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Livingston, Mr. Santore lived life with an insatiable passion. But on Tuesday, the 49-year-old father of two was among eight comrades from Ladder Co. 5 in Greenwich Village who lost their lives in the World Trade Center terrorist attack. Mr. Santore was the senior member of the company, which was last seen evacuating building occupants from the 37th floor of Tower 1. “He was always helping everyone,” said his wife the former Frances Grasse. “They called him the mayor of West Brighton.” In 1992, Mr. Santore spearheaded the Noble Crew, which transformed Building D at Snug Harbor into the 22,000-square-foot Noble Maritime Museum. The facility opened last November as the city’s newest museum and holds the deceased artist’s paintings which had been housed in Noble’s New Brighton home. In all, the Crew collectively contributed more than $1 million worth of labor, materials and support to the cause. For his efforts, Mr. Santore received the Noble Crew Award in 1997. “He was the heart of the Noble Crew,” said Erin Urban, director of the museum. The award wasn’t the only one Mr. Santore would garner. In 1990, he received the Daily News Hero of the Month Award, said his wife. He also was awarded numerous meritorious service and bravery awards, Mrs. Santore said. A lifelong Islander, Mr. Santore was born in New Brighton and moved to West Brighton in 1960. Prior to becoming a firefighter in 1981, Mr. Santore worked for about nine years as a lineman for Con Edison on Staten Island. He was a graduate of Curtis High School and the College of Staten Island. Mr. Santore was a member of the Richmond Gun Club, a life member of the National Rifle Association and a past member of the Sons of American Legion, Granito-Smith Post, West Brighton. Mr. Santore enjoyed hunting, fishing and golf and was a parishioner of Sacred Heart R.C. Church, West Brighton. Surviving in addition to his wife are two daughters, Mirjana Santore and Tiana Santore; his parents, Alice and Dominic Santore, and a sister, Karen Miller.