CHESHIRE - William “Coach” Cunningham, Sr., 87, passed away Thursday, March 29, 2018 at his home in Cheshire with his wife by his side. He was the husband of his high school sweetheart Patricia Burgess Cunningham.
He was born September 10, 1930 in Bridgeport, the son of the late Richard and Florence (Hamilton) Cunningham. Raised in Milford, he graduated Milford High School Class of 1949 excelling in Football and Baseball. He attended Arnold College before enlisting to serve his country in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. During the war he served as a Medic aboard several transport ships. Upon his Honorable discharge from the service he obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in teaching from Springfield College in 1959 and furthered his education at Fairfield University obtaining his Masters in 1963.
Coach Cunningham taught at Roger Ludlow High School in Fairfield where he served as Assistant Football Coach, his true “passion in life”, and Head Basketball Coach. He then taught at West Hill High School in Syracuse where was the Head Football Coach. He completed his career at Cheshire High School in 1988 where he taught and coached for over 16 years. In 1983, he was named CT football “Coach of the Year" and was inducted in the Cheshire High School Hall of Fame in 2013. He spent his summers for 32 years as the Director of Holiday Hill Day Camp providing a great experience and fun atmosphere for many children including many of his grandchildren.
He was a man of strong faith as a devout Catholic and communicant of St. Bridget Church. His greatest joy in life was spending time with his six children and eighteen grandchildren. During his 30 years of retirement he spent each day with his favorite hobby making furniture, and every evening with Patricia at a field or school watching one of his grandchildren participate in a sport or activity they loved. Three decades after retirement he was still being referred to as “Coach” by most people who greeted him.
Besides his wife of 64 years, Mr. Cunningham is survived by his daughters Linda Remillard of Cheshire, Shelia Adams (Mike) of Cheshire, Stacey Peel (Kevin) Wallingford; his sons William Cunningham Jr. (Sandra) of Cheshire and Gregg Cunningham (Kristen) of Glastonbury; his grandchildren Jack, Molly, Bailey, Emily, Glenn, and Scott Cunningham, Kelsey Genter, Bret Genter, Paige Remillard, Jessica and Ryan Adams, Christopher and Katie Peel, Megan Abbott (Joanna), Justin and Kyle Podbielski (MJ), Chelsey DeFrancesco; his great grandchildren, Calen and Landon Abbott; and many nieces and nephews. Besides his parents, Mr. Cunningham is predeceased by his daughter Janet DeFrancesco; his granddaughter Kelly Cunningham; his brothers Richard and Jack Cunningham; as well as his sister Mary Barnick.
Thank you Prince Aporih for taking such kind and loving care of “Pop” these past two years.
Arrangements – Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, April 3, 2018, with the funeral procession leaving the Alderson-Ford Funeral Home of Cheshire, 615 S. Main St. at 9:15 for a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 am at St. Bridget Church. Burial will follow in Cheshire Hillside Cemetery. Calling hours will be held on Monday from 4 to 7 PM at the funeral home. Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to The Foundation for a Cure for Mitochondrial Disease, Inc., 81 Wood Pond Rd., Cheshire CT 06410 or to Smilow Cancer Hospital, Office of Development, Yale New Haven Hosp., P.O. Box 1849, New Haven, CT 06508-9979.