Americo S. Ventura (1927 – 2017)
Americo S. Ventura of Brookfield, Connecticut passed away on September 1, 2017, at the age of 89, at Danbury Hospital. He was a well-known lawyer in the City of Danbury and an icon in the Portuguese community for decades. Mr. Ventura was born on 21 Comstock Street in Danbury on September 15, 1927. He was the eldest son of Joaquim Ventura and Santana Morreira, who emigrated from Portugal in the early 1920s.
As a teenager, Mr. Ventura worked in his father’s grocery store. After attending Bordentown Military Institute in New Jersey, Mr. Ventura graduated from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service with a B.A. in Diplomatic and Counselor Practice. He then served in the United States Army Signal Corps. After his honorable discharge, he attended Boston University School of Law, graduating in 1957. That same year, Mr. Ventura founded the law firm, Ventura & Ventura PC, with his former wife, Dianne Andersen, the first female attorney in the City of Danbury.
Fluent in English and Portuguese, Mr. Ventura focused his practice on the needs of the Portuguese community, and served many of the same people who had come to know him working in his father’s store. Thomas G. West, the first African American attorney in Danbury, later joined the practice which became known as Ventura, Ventura & West PC, before his later appointment to the Court of Appeals for the State of Connecticut. Mr. Ventura also served as Chief Prosecutor for the City of Danbury in the early 1960s. The law firm that he founded in 1957 endures and is now known as Ventura Law.
Mr. Ventura was a member of both the Sons of Portugal and Portuguese American clubs, and was a member of the successor of both clubs, the Portuguese Cultural Center. He was responsible for the library at the center, which is named after him. Combining his lifelong love of history with his commitment to help students pursue their dreams, Mr. Ventura founded a scholarship fund to benefit undergraduate and graduate college students called the Santana M. and Joaquim S. Ventura Portuguese History Award, which is funded by the Ventura family.
Mr. Ventura was the recipient of countless awards and recognitions for his community service and pro bono work from the City of Danbury, State of Connecticut, and United States Senate.
In a 2015 interview following his receipt of the American Dream Lifetime Achievement Award, Mr. Ventura recalled lessons he learned from his father and how they shaped his work as a lawyer: “I saw my father helping people all the time. And he told me many, many times that the most important thing you can do in your lifetime is to help people. What you did and how you helped people is what counts. I think I’ve accomplished many things in my life. The thing that makes me feel very happy is that I really helped not only Portuguese people but everyone who came in to see me.”
Mr. Ventura – affectionately called “Mr. V” by those who worked with him – mentored and was a role model to many aspiring lawyers during his 60 years of practice. The advice he handed down was the same given to him by his own father decades earlier: you don’t have to be the best lawyer, but be the most honest lawyer. Mr. Ventura was at his best counseling families and helping them navigate legal and personal challenges. He so thoroughly enjoyed his work and relished his connections with the community that he never considered retirement and instead continued his law practice up until the time of his death.
Mr. Ventura is survived by his wife Lucinda Ventura; sister Olga Monteiro and her husband, Orlando; brother Valentine Ventura and his wife, Helen; son Jonathan Ventura and his wife, Donna; daughter Lisle Ventura and her husband, Christopher Ellefsen; daughter Leslie Ahari and her husband Kameran Ahari; step-daughter Lisa Alves and her husband, Mark Alves; step-son Wayne Westring and his wife, Jennifer Westring; grandchildren Chelsea Ventura, Christopher Ventura, Mark Ahari, Evan Alves, MacKenzie Alves, Kylie Alves, Wayne Westring, Louis Westring, and Vinny Westring; nephew Guy Monteiro and his wife, Elizabeth; nephew Mark Monteiro and his wife, Melanie; niece Valerie Ventura-Saadi and her husband, Thomas Saadi; nephew Eric Ventura and his wife, Sandy Repay-Ventura; and numerous great nephews and nieces, all of whom will miss him dearly.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on September 6, 2017 at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 149 Deer Hill Ave., Danbury with the Rev. Jose Brito-Martins, Pastor, officiating. Burial followed at St. Peter Cemetery in Danbury. Friends were received from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at the Green Funeral Home, 57 Main Street, in Danbury. In lieu of flowers, donations were suggested to be made to the Santana M. and Joaquim S. Ventura Portuguese History Award, c/o Ventura Law, 235 Main Street, Danbury, CT 06810.