Our Early Beginnings: Santore & Santore Attorneys at Law
JOHN A. ARMSTRONG, Attorney at Law
Born – May 11, 1910, Morristown, TN
Died – July 11, 1979, Greeneville, TN
Graduated: Morristown (TN) High School, 1929
Licensed to practice:
U.S. Dist. Ct., E. D. Tenn. – 1931
U.S. Circuit Ct., 6th Cir. – 1938
U.S. Supreme Ct. – 1945
Practiced law 1931-1979
William Cullen Bryant H.S., NYC–1948
Tusculum College, B.A. 1953
University of Tennessee, J.D. 1961
NYU, Seton Hall University, Wake
Forest School of Medicine
Licensed to practice:
Tennessee – 1962
U.S. Dist. Ct., E.D. Tenn. – 1964
Practiced law 1962-2004
Started firm of Santore & Santore on May 1, 1965
Greeneville (TN) H.S. – 1977
Davidson College A.B. – 1981
Samford University J.D. – 1984
Licensed to practice:
Tennessee – 1985
U.S. Dist. Ct., E.D. Tenn. – 1985
U.S. Bky. Ct., E.D. Tenn. – 1985
Has practiced since 1985
Our firm’s roots actually go back way before 1965…back, in fact, to the Depression. It was then that John A. Armstrong came from his home town of Morristown, Tennessee, with his teenaged wife and young baby girl to hang out his shingle in Greeneville, Tennessee, without ever attending law school, and never stepping foot inside a college classroom!
Mr. Armstrong, first in tandem with his partner, Mr. John W. Kilgo in the Greeneville firm of Armstrong and Kilgo, and later, after Mr. Kilgo’s demise at a young age in 1950, by himself through 1962, and again from 1965 until his death in 1979, became known as one of the best trial lawyers in northeast Tennessee. Clad in his colorful suits, Mr. Armstrong, my “Granddaddy,” made quite an appearance, wherever he tried cases in Tennessee.
Francis X. Santore
My Dad grew up in New York City, in the borough of Queens, in a neighborhood called Astoria. He was the first of his extended family to attend college, first attending undergraduate school at NYU and Seton Hall.
Dad then came South as a “damn Yankee”—one of the first—in 1950 to attend Tusculum College, in my hometown of Greeneville. The first week there, this brash, Italian, Catholic northerner, met this gorgeous, striking, Baptist Southern Belle, Charlotte Armstrong, my mother…and, like opposite ends of a magnet, they attracted.
Dad graduated a year ahead of Mom in 1953, and, although starting medical school at Wake Forest, had his studies interrupted because of the draft. While home on a short leave in the middle of his two-year hitch in the Army, Mom and Dad married, and Dad promptly finished the remainder of his Army tour on the other side of the world in Japan. He finished his first year at Wake Forest Medical School, but had to leave his studies, as a result of injuries Mom suffered in an automobile accident. So he taught school for a year in Winston-Salem, while Mom recovered, and then he moved to Greeneville, working in the local Magnavox television plant, while my mother taught school.
It was while working in the factory that Dad decided to go to law school. He attended the University of Tennessee’s College of Law and graduated in 1961, passing the Tennessee Bar in 1962, and, on May 1, 1962, joining with his father-in-law, my Granddaddy, John Armstrong, in the Greeneville firm of Armstrong and Santore.
Three years to the day he started practicing law, Dad moved out into his own law practice. Being the “Yankee outsider,” Dad was never part of the “good old boy” network that is always evident in small towns. This was the most fearless man I ever knew, including staring down an armed gunman who pulled a gun on him at his office! Regardless, this was also a family man, who was the only lawyer in town who came home every day to eat lunch, and who always found time to make it to all of his children’s events, including the year I sat on the bench on my college’s football team. He was a fearsome presence in the courtroom and before a jury: a big man physically with a deep New York-style voice that people have told me intimidated them. He started our family’s tradition of taking on difficult cases, however big or small, providing diligent representation to our clients, and serving the profession the best we can.
I had the great fortune of practicing with my father for 19 years, until he passed on March 7, 2004. He and my mother, who passed on September 9, 2012, were the two greatest people I have ever known. I know I’ll never be worthy to stand in their shoes.
Francis X. Santore, Jr.
I was born on November 9, 1959 in Knoxville, while Dad was in his first year of law school. After Dad and Mom moved back to Greeneville, I attended the local Greeneville schools, as did my younger brother and sister, Jonathan and Gabrielle, both of whom are happily married and raising a total of five great nephews and nieces of mine.
Playing the sport of football throughout elementary, junior high and high school led me to Davidson College, where I quickly discovered that, even back in 1977, there was no room in Division I football for a 5-9 190 pound offensive lineman! So I finished my studies at Davidson, enrolled at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law, graduated from there in 1984, took the bar, and passed it on my first try, as had my Granddaddy and my Dad, and joined my father on April 18, 1985.
I am currently licensed in all courts in the State of Tennessee and in the United States District and Bankruptcy Courts for the Eastern District of Tennessee. I, like my family, am a member of Notre Dame Catholic Church in Greeneville, a proud 4th Degree Knight of Columbus in local council 6784, and a member of the Father Aiken 4th Degree Assembly #940 in Kingsport, Tennessee.
Professionally, I belong to the Tennessee Bar Association, the Greene County Bar Association, the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program. I have tried well over 100 jury trials to completion in various courts, and thousands of other non-jury cases in my over 30 years of practice.
My biggest hobby/second avocation is broadcasting radio play-by-play, which has allowed me to broadcast over 600 minor league baseball games, and over 1,000 Division I events in 7 different college sports, at 4 different Division I institutions, and independently-contracted on national terrestrial radio and satellite radio, including national tournament games in men’s soccer and basketball, and the 2009 Division I FCS football championship game between Montana and Villanova.
Last, but certainly not least, my wife, Tuyet, is the love of my life and the apple of my eye. Although we have no children together, I am proud to call my three adult stepchildren and their spouses, as well as their seven total children, my children and grandchildren. Tuyet, or “Mimi,” as she’s known, is prettier on the inside than on the outside…she is definitely my anchor.