All of our licensed directors adhere to the highest standard of ethical practices and are dedicated to meeting your every need. Their commitment to the community and genuine compassion for the families we serve are just a few of the characteristics that make them outstanding in the industry. We are proud to have them on our staff.
Nicholas F. Cognetta, Sr. (1927-2005)
Nicholas was the founder of Nicholas F. Cognetta Funeral Home & Crematory and worked in the death care industry for 57 years as a licensed funeral director and embalmer. Born and raised in Stamford, Nicholas was an alumnus of Stamford High School and attended Villanova University and the McAllister School of Embalming. He was a member of CFDA and NFDA, as well as many community organizations including the Kiwanis Club, The Knights of Columbus 4th degree, St. Mary’s Church and St. Bridget’s Church. He also served on the board of St. Camillus Health Care Center and Woodland Cemetery. Nicholas and his wife Naida had a son, three daughters and 10 grandchildren.
Nicholas F. Cognetta, Jr.
Nicholas F. Cognetta, Jr., is Owner and President of the Nicholas F. Nicholas F Cognetta Funeral Home & Crematory in Stamford and Co-Owner of Hoyt-Cognetta Funeral Home & Crematory in Norwalk. He was born and raised in Stamford and attended Rogers Elementary, St. Maurice, St. Gabriel Middle, and Stamford Catholic High Schools. Having spent his childhood living over the funeral home and working with his father, it was only natural that he would follow in his father’s footsteps. After graduating from Stamford Catholic High School, he attended the University of Connecticut and graduated from the American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service. He has been with Nicholas F Cognetta Funeral Home & Crematory since 1979 having become a licensed funeral director and embalmer in 1981. He was instrumental in creating the Connecticut Crematory Corporation, a crematory, which is located within the Funeral Home and is the only crematory in Fairfield County, opening in 1995. Nick also co-founded the Hoyt/Cognetta Funeral Home and Crematory in Norwalk which was sold to John Lesko in 2018. He then began All Pets Crematory & Remembrances in Stamford in 2003, which is the only pet crematory in Fairfield County and beyond.
Nicholas is a member of the NFDA, CFDA, and CANA, as well as a past board member of the Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care of Southwestern CT, Inc. He also volunteers his time to local charities and at New Canaan High School where he mentors the Future Business Leaders Class. Nick has been fortunate enough to help raise 3 step children, Christopher, Nicole and Danyel. He is currently engaged to Adriana Santaniello to be wed in September of 2018. His passion for motorsports and motorcycles is second to none.
Jacqueline M. Ruella
Funeral Director/Embalmer/Office Manager
Jacqueline is a licensed funeral director and embalmer who has been in the funeral service industry since 1978. She graduated from Naugatuck High School and Salve Regina College before attending American Academy of McAllister Institute of Funeral Service. Jacqueline joined Nicholas F. Cognetta Funeral Home & Crematory in 2005 and currently sits on the Advisory Board for Lincoln College of New England’s College of Mortuary Science program.
Anthony J. Notaro, III
Funeral Director/Embalmer/Crematory Manager
Anthony began at Cognetta’s November 2008 as an apprentice and became licensed in January 2009 after attending Briarwood College, graduating at the top of his class. He also attended Southern and Western Connecticut State Universities where he played football. He has been very involved in the death care industry since 2002 in New Haven County. He is one of the most skilled embalmers in the industry and a reason why the appearance of your loved one would have given you solace. He is very compassionate always helping others in his spare time, volunteering for various organizations and partaking in community events. He has a passion for home improvements, and buying fixer uppers recreating and preserving their past. Anthony most enjoys spending time with his wife Ingrid, their son Santi, and their Doberman Jax. Anthony also looks forward to taking motorcycle trips with his friends.
Leonard W. Santora, a Stamford native with lifelong roots in the community, has joined the staff at Nicholas F. Cognetta Funeral Home & Crematory as a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer. Mr. Santora attended Stamford public schools and graduated Westhill High School. He went on to New England College in Henniker, NH where he earned duel Bachelor degrees in Psychology and Communications. Adding to his credentials, Mr. Santora completed the program of studies at The American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service in New York, NY and graduated, with academic honors, with an Associate degree in Mortuary Science, Embalming and Funeral Directing. Santora has a decade of professional experience and has served hundreds of families in the Stamford area by providing guidance in the area of preneed funeral planning and by helping families navigate the funeral planning process at their time of need. On a personal basis, Lee is the son of Maryanne Santora and the late Billy Santora. He is also the nephew of the late founder of Cognetta Funeral Home, Nicholas F. Cognetta, Sr., and first cousin of the current owner, Nicholas F. Cognetta, Jr. Mr. Santora is a parishioner of Our Lady Star of the Sea R.C. Church, a member of the Gravinese Mutual Aid Society and a member of the Board of Directors at Fairfield Memorial Park in Stamford. Active within the Stamford community, Lee has coached various youth sports teams and has served on the executive boards of local youth sports leagues. Lee resides in the Shippan section of Stamford with his wife Luci and their three children; Billy, Maddie and Lucy, and their rescue pup, Josie.
Although not licensed funeral directors, these members of our staff are vitally important to the operation of our firm. They make it possible for us to professionally and flawlessly deliver the quality of service our community has come to expect from us.
Michele, a lifelong Stamford resident became a member of the Cognetta staff in September 2005. She and her daughter, Victoria, suffered the sudden loss of their husband/father and call the Nicholas F. Cognetta Funeral Home to handle the arrangements. It was that event that sparked her interest in the death care industry. Among her many responsibilities she drives the hearse, is a licensed cosmetologist, and a familiar face at the door during wakes and on funerals. She also helps out at Hoyt-Cognetta Funeral Home in Norwalk. Michele’s warmth and compassion with our families comes clearly from her heart, she is one of the reasons you would have commented not only how beautifully the deceased appeared but also how comfortable and cared for you felt. When Michele is not working, she most enjoys spending her time with her daughter, Victoria and her son, Michael.
A lifelong Darien resident along with his wife Josephine. Brian has spent his entire life involved in the funeral service. You may remember him from being at St. John’s cemetery in Darien, CT. A manager, he was there for 42 years before his retirement in 2013. You can now find Brian at our facility assisting on funerals. He enjoys spending his retirement with his grandson watching him play ball.
Born in Ireland, Joe emigrated to the United States in 1963 and settled in Stamford, where he married, raised a family and was a manager at Pitney Bowes for 41 years. Following his retirement, Joe entered the funeral profession with the goal of providing the families we serve with dignified compassion and service that is second to none. He is proficient in every aspect of the profession and aids the staff at our Stamford and Norwalk facilities. Joe is a Third-Degree Member of the Knights of Columbus Council 41. He is also a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and St. Bridget of Ireland Church.
Michael R. Berlingo
Parking Lot Attendant
Mike is a student at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH. After many years of coming to the funeral home with his mom Michele, he is now a valued employee here at Cognetta’s. If you have ever come to a wake at our funeral home, you can find Mike assisting in our parking lot. His goal is to greet family and friends as they enter and exit. Your safety is his top priority. Mike enjoys being a camp counselor for The City of Stamford’s summer program. Mike can always be found on the field, either playing baseball for Xavier University or for American Legion in Stamford.
Nicholas F Cognetta Funeral Home
104 Myrtle Ave
Stamford, CT 06902
Reach out via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
24 Hour Service
We are available 24 hours a day. Please feel free to call us any time and a member of our staff will be there for you to talk through your needs.