Israel Santiago Sr. was born on January 6, 1939 in Coamo, Puerto Rico to Ramon Molina and Martina Santiago, and spent his youth mountainside playing with his siblings. Israel emigrated to Chicago, Illinois in the 1960’s and started a family with his wife, Maria. They raised four children: Israel Jr., Jeanette, Eneida and Daniel. Israel had a lifelong career at Carbit Paints. Israel enjoyed working with his hands, a builder at heart, and making hot chocolate for guests. He had 8 grandchildren.