Tuesday, May 13, 2008


On May 12, our Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother, Colleague, Mentor and Friend passed away at his home surrounded by his wife and children.

We would like to use this space to remember him. Please feel free to share stories, jokes, anecdotes or share pictures. Also feel free to ask questions. We will be monitoring and responding daily.

You can contact us privately via email cantorifamilyATgmail.com

We know he has touched many people. Please take the time when you can to pass on this information.

We thank you for your kind words and thoughts,

The Cantori Family


ميراندا كانتوري said...

Bop Bop :)-
sawfa ta'eesh fi qoloobina da'eman
(You will be in our hearts always)

osman said...

Lou was a wonderful mentor, advisor and friend. We spent many hours discussing middle east policy on which he had a unique perspective, one that needs to be heard more often. He was one of those rare people whose distinctive laugh would actually make you laugh. As the father of a Marine, I think it is ok for me to say: Semper Fi Lou.

Docciavelli said...

If it wasn't for Lou Cantori, the following wouldn't have happened:

1. I wouldn't read the NYTimes daily.
2. I would still be clueless as to real solutions for Middle East peace.
3. I wouldn't have a great nickname referring to a college hockey injury.
4. I wouldn't have nearly the affinity for red wine that I do now.

We'll miss you Dr. Cantori.

wightwise said...

Things I learned from Lou Cantori:

1. The difference between Vermont slate and Pennsylvania slate.

2. Why we are really in this war and war isn't always the answer (not quite the answer I expected from a military man).

3. Never call a retired Marine retired. "Once a Marine always a Marine!"

4. Democrats ROCK! (okay, that one was really just affirmation)

5. Everyone is entitled to their opinions.

I only knew Lou for five and half years. I am proud to have been his neighbor. I hope, after my husband and I have been married as long as Lou and Joanie have, that he still looks at me like I'm the prettiest girl in the room like Lou did to Joanie.

Hunting Ridge truly feels the lost of one of our own.


Marsha Wight Wise

Roy Denham said...

Lou was a good friend for over 35 years, since his family and mine moved to the same neighborhood of Baltimore in 1972. He was a wonderful and congenial friend, generous in many ways, especially of his time and knowledge. Conversations with Lou could be counted on to be stimulating, challenging, informative, and enjoyable. Whether discussing the Middle East, domestic politics, or neighborhood activities, his breadth of knowledge, his depth of understanding, and his infectious good humor were unique in their synergy. When my work took me to the Middle East, Lou was a trusted and valued adviser, giving me insight to the people, politics, and philosophies of those countries which he knew and loved so well.

Lou will be greatly missed.

BigGuy said...

Some folks are friendly and easy to talk with, some are very smart - but not many are both like Lou. I'll always remember Lou and his retriever howl as he cheered the UMBC crew team towards the finish line. Both my daughters rowed crew and I was thrilled Lou was so involved with their team. We hosted a couple picnics for the team and I was so impressed with the ease the team members interacted with Lou. He was special!


Aimee said...

I knew Dr. Cantori vaguely while I was a student at UMBC, but did not really get to know him until I started working on the Marc Steiner Show. Every time I spoke with Dr. Cantori I learned something. He had a keen and always questioning mind, an open and compassionate heart, a wonderful voice and a fantastic laugh. He was a pleasure to work with. He was a public radio producer's dream come true. He touched and taught every one who heard him speak.

Aimee Pohl

Paula said...

Brother Lou was his title while I was growing up; to me he was handsome, strong, smart and kind. He was a lifeguard at his college when I visited at six. I assured all the awestruck girls that the handsome lifeguard really was my brother but they doubted me. I boldly brought the other little girls over to him and looked up at him and said "Aren't you my brother, Brother Lou?" He assured them he really was. I was so proud. For the next 50 years, even after I dropped the title, he was still my brother and continued to make me proud. I continue to be proud of my brother. He inspires me to do more and I am grateful.


Cantori Family said...

Here are Paula and Lou from way back (way way back):
Paula and Lou

Anonymous said...

pop pop we will never forget u and your funny laugh we love u so much and we always will.
rachel te manda muchas saludes y te quiere pero desafortunada mente no pude desirtelo acabe de ablar con ella y estaba triste acerca de la noticia.
con muchisimo amor rachel y andrea

carole said...

The last time I visited my brother in Baltimore he was heading out the door bragging, yes, bragging about his new acquisition, an overnight bag. "$4.00 and it carries everything I need, look a place for all my clothes for the next day". "That's great" I say. The day before I heard of many of his other buys, an Italian suit, designer shirt and yes, all bought at his local boutique, the 2nd hand store. Meanwhile I asked "Where are you going?" "Oh, to Columbia to talk about starting a program for Middle East studies." This dialog was so endearing to me, it spoke to me of the simple joys he embraced. His booming laughter, his hearty embrace, his garden, his untiring and outstanding scholarly pursuit of mending the world of it's injustices and above all his complete love and devotion as a husband and father. Yes "Brother Lou" will be dearly missed but his immense love, extraordinary deeds will leave an everlasting impression on his family and the world


Carole Cantori Izquierdo

Michael said...

Uncle Lou was a great story teller. I distinctly remember him telling me a story about his father, my grandfather, who never finished school beyond 7th grade; his parents died and he had to go to work to support himself. Anyway, during WWII my grandfather was a merchant marine and his job was to navigate the ship by using celestial navigation. Although my Uncle Lou did not have a great relationship with his father, he was obviously very impressed by my grandfather’s ability to teach himself the math and physics needed to learn this skill.
These past few days I’ve been thinking a lot about Uncle Lou and how he had to navigate his own life. He taught himself how to be a successful husband, father and scholar. He didn’t learn these skills by example from his parents. So many people’s lives are guided by circumstances, like a ship without a captain they remain afloat but are tossed to and fro. Luckily I have my uncle as an example of how to guide my own ship.

Cheers to Uncle Lou!

John L. said...

Lou was one of those rare individuals who was bigger than life, at least most of the lives I have known. The first words that come to mind are big, first rate scholar,independent-minded, passionate about issues of peace and justice, happy, funny, warm, and gracious. Lou was never about Lou. He might have a lot to say but it wasn't about standing out or self-promotion but people and issues.
Lou had an incredible sense of humor and a laugh that could blow you out of the room:) Two memories always stand out. Several of us went to dinner in London at an elegant restaurant. When I reflect on our past together, what strikes me the most is that I think we laughed more than we ate. When we left the head waiter made it clear there were some diners who were glad to see us leave.
Lou was at his best.We were in Tampa for a conference at the University of South Florida. The night before we were at the hotel visiting each other's room and drinking beer. When Lou learned that I was considering a job there. His voice echoed down the hall:"John, don't you know people come to Florida to ... die!" I think of this so often since Jean and I built a vacation home here in Florida:)
Lou will be missed by so many: family, friends, colleagues, students. But in a very real sense he will always be with us.

John Esposito

Lyle Fischer said...

Lou was like a second father to me when I was growing up. He always made me like one of his own family in his home - and he was a wonderful cook and gentle soul. His willingness to sit down and talk to me when I was going through tough times was a priceless gift that I carry with me even today. Thanks, Lou, for your influence in my life.

James said...


If you are reading this, odds are you knew Lou. And if you knew Lou, you know there is no way you can capture who he was in just a few words. Telling the complete Lou Cantori story is impossible. Just when you think you've got it all down, you remember, yet another, facet of this remarkable teacher, father, husband, peacemaker, faculty advisor, scholar, Islamic expert, department chairman, boathouse expansion advocate, mentor, Marine (note omission of word "former"), etc.

I met Lou when he became the faculty advisor of the UMBC Crew. For the next ten years, we worked together to built a rowing program that endures today. What I learned from Lou, again defies finite listing, but here goes:

1. You, and nobody else, control your destiny. My sympathies to anyone who tried to say "no" to Lou. His tireless dedication to a purpose underscores the notion that people who say it can't be done only get in the way of those who are making the impossible happen.

2. Take stock of your blessings. Lou taught me that there is something special to being a "rowah" or rower, as we pronounce it. It never occured to me, until he pointed it out, that the rowing community is a pretty special group of people, dedicated to a special mission - athletic endeavor for the sake of personal achievement.

3. Give peace a chance. Violence solves nothing. It merely postpones the time when adversaries will ultimately have to sit down and work things out. Better to start the process of working things out now.

4. Make sure others know you have confidence in their ability to achieve. Lou's Retriever howl at Regatta's reminded all of us rowing that there was a guy on shore who really beleived in us.

5. There is no substitute for hard work - even if it means "hands on" our boats at 5:00 a.m., when all the other teams got there at 5:30.

6. Stay out of airplanes in the Sudan. Lou told me more than once that the scarriest monent of his life was when, years ago, he was a passenger in a small plane in the Sudan. Taking stock on everything that he did for all of us, I'm glad he kept that commitment.

7. Judge a person's worth on who he or she is, and not based upon which God they pray to. During the ugly anti-moslem climate after 9/11 Lou was a sane voice explaining that Islam is anything but a blueprint for terrorism or hate.

8. Take pride in your family. I can't tell you how many times Lou would tell of his family's accomplishments. Not boasting, but an expression of pride.

9. Laugh out loud. Lou had a way of letting everyone know that at least he thought the story he'd just told was funny.

10. A hug trumps a handshake. Hold on to the those who count, since our days are not promised, and time spent with special people is precious.

Jim MacAlister

PKB said...

Just returned from overseas and found this blog; but I have been thinking about Lou every day for a very long time. We first met in 1961 at the Princeton Summer Program for Arabic where we shared a suite in 1937Hall along with Bob Collins.Every evening we would commiserate except when we watched LL baseball or exchanged jokes
We met again in Cairo in 1964 when the man who had coached me about marriage showed off his own wonderful family.Later on I invited Lou as guest speaker to EVERY one of my FSI programs,and every time he came we would embrace..As I told Joanie often,Lou was the only man I have ever kissed(about 250x in all)because I just loved him for his sweetness and incredible sincerity. He was also the first person whom I would call to discuss latest developments in the Middle East and our policy foibles
Who could ever forget his booming laugh, his amazing
forthrightness,his pride as a Marine--always visible in his dress--his inability to end even one lecture on time,or his inabilty to walk past a single person on the way out of the room, oblivious to the traffic and others waiting.There was no more genuine person. Dear Lou,

Anonymous said...

Rest in peace Lou. Thanks for all you did for me and the rest of the crew.

Gary Flester

Renee said...

If there were only two words I would choose to describe Lou Cantori, it would be these: “Gung Ho”. As I was thinking about Lou, his life, his actions, and his achievements, this term came back to me over and over again, and funnily enough, I just found out that the term “Gung Ho” is associated with the US Marine Corps. How appropriate!

Lou would get excited by anything, and he would relay his excitement with enthusiastic stories more often than not punctured by his booming laugh. It did not have to be extraordinary. In fact, often it was the most mundane event or item that would pique his

Here are some examples:

All things having to do with the UMBC crew program, its members, the races, etc.;
Anything having to do with his children and his grandchildren;
The craftsmanship of an item that he may have found in a dusty corner of an Arab souk;
His multiple physical rehabilitations and the zest he applied during these rehabilitations; and, of course, the skill of doctors, nurses, physical therapists;
His love of wine;
A great find at the “boutique”.
Any simple meal that he sat down to eat;
Swimming and what a great exercise it was;
His students and their accomplishments;
And neat people in general.

To me, his enthusiasm is a great lesson. He did no thing half-heartedly. “Curb your Enthusiasm” was a term that he likely would not have comprehended. On the contrary, he applied enthusiasm to everything he attempted which is why he succeeded at most everything he did, maybe, because when a person gets so excited, that excitement is infectious and more people sign on to the project!. Most importantly, he ENJOYED everything he did, and if I could take one lesson from Lou, that would definitely be it.

We will miss you, Lou.

Your daughter-in-law,

Renee Cantori

Ali Tahwid Saifullah said...

Bismillah, ir-rahman, ir-rahim! I never had the honor to know Col. Cantori directly. I did not even know of his existence until it was postumously. However, I do feel as though I know him well through the lives of those he touched, helped create, and raised. I know that he was, in this life, an awsome man because of the legacy I see with his grand-daughter Miranda. She and I are good friends and I can see through the life that she leads how his life has inspired her walk. I saw it in Ms. Joan's eyes when she spoke of him that he was a good man. A man of love and passion for the betterment of others. I also now know that he and I are brothers in arms. Both proud Marines! Serving and protecting is what Allah called us to do. And yes, I cannot forget about my beloved Islam! I am muslim. I also have a thirst for knowledge and would have been honored to have studied under his tutiladge. So Col., I salute you in your efforts to make a positive impact on the world, Hoorah! Alhamdulillah!