BROOKFIELD, Conn. — Services have been set for Americo S. Ventura of Brookfield, a longtime Danbury lawyer and a beloved member of the city's Portuguese community who died Sept. 1 at Danbury Hospital. He was 89.
Ventura was born at 21 Comstock St. in Danbury on Sept. 15, 1927. He was the oldest son of Joaquim Ventura and Santana Morreira, who emigrated from Portugal in the early 1920s.
As a teenager, Ventura worked in his father's grocery store. After attending Bordentown Military Institute in New Jersey, he graduated from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service with a bachelor's degree in diplomatic and counselor practice. He then served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. After his honorable discharge, he attended Boston University School of Law, graduating in 1957.
That same year, 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, Ventura focused his practice on the needs of the Portuguese community. Thomas G. West, the first African-American attorney in Danbury, later joined the practice, which became known as Ventura, Ventura & West PC.
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.
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.
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.
Ventura received countless awards and recognitions for his community service and pro bono work from the City of Danbury, State of Connecticut, and U.S. Senate.
In a 2015 interview following his receipt of the American Dream Lifetime Achievement Award, Ventura recalled lessons he learned from his father: "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."
Ventura – affectionately called "Mr. V" – 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: you don't have be the best lawyer, but be the most honest lawyer.
He continued his law practice up until the time of his death.
"Mr. Ventura was an iconic figure in the legal community and in the City of Danbury, and served our community with vigor for over 60 years. He loved to counsel families and navigate them through the challenges of the law. He also served as a role model and mentor to thousands of people who wanted a better life for their children", said Augie Ribeiro, the firm's CEO. "He was, until his last days, a fighter for the causes and people he believed in. We will celebrate his legacy by continuing to serve our clients and the community with the zeal and compassion he stood for."
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; stepdaughter Lisa Alves and her husband, Mark Alves; stepson 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; and many nephews, nieces, great-nephews and great-nieces.
Friends will be received from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5, at the Green Funeral Home, 57 Main St., Danbury.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Wednesday, Sept. 6, at 10:30 a.m. at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 149 Deer Hill Ave., Danbury, with the Rev. Jose Brito-Martins officiating. Burial will follow at St. Peter Cemetery in Danbury.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Santana M. and Joaquim S. Ventura Portuguese History Award, c/o Ventura Law, 235 Main St., Danbury, CT 06810.
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