Page 42 - CHSCA Fall-Winter Magazine 2020-2021
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JOAN FLORENCE SULLIVAN, 89, died peacefully on June 20, 2020. Born February 11, 1931 in Hartford, Connecticut, she was raised in West Hartford by her parents, the late Edward Cyril and Florence Grace Sullivan. She graduated from Hall High School in West Hartford in 1949, Colby Junior College in 1951, and Boston University’s Sargent Col-
lege in 1954 and subsequently earned a master’s degree from Springfield College. Joan went on to a long and leg- endary career with Simsbury Public Schools as a coach and physical education teacher. She began teaching at Sims- bury High School in 1954 and was an influential force in the Simsbury community for 37 years, positively impacting the lives of thousands of students until her retirement in 1991. Joan coached nearly every sport available to female athletes in this era, including badminton, basketball, field hockey, softball, tennis, and volleyball. Success followed her every- where she went, and she was recognized at the state level for her numerous achievements in multiple sports, receiv- ing many awards and accolades throughout her long career. Notably, Joan was named Field Hockey Coach of the Year in 1975. She was inducted into the Connecticut Tennis Hall of Fame in 1985, the Connecticut Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998, and the Connecticut Field Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002. In 1991, she was named the Connecticut Ten- nis Hall of Fame Coach of the Year for her years of service to female athletics. In 1999, Joan was recognized by The Hart- ford Courant as one of Connecticut’s “Best of the Century.” Most recently, she was inducted into the Simsbury High School Hall of Fame in 2019. A life-long athlete, Joan lived her life to the fullest, traveling extensively, skiing, cheer- ing on the UConn Huskies Women’s Basketball team, and spending summers at her beloved Black Point Beach.
KAREN M. O’CONNOR, former coach at Lewis Mills High School died May 28, 2020, after a lengthy illness. She was 76 years old. Born in Winsted, Conn., on Dec. 6, 1943, she was the daughter of the late Russell J. O’Connor, Sr., and Elaine (Nardi) O’Connor. She was a three-sport athlete at Southern Connecticut State College where she received her bachelor’s degree, and her
master’s degree from Springfield (Massachusetts) College. Karen was a physical education teacher, and head hockey coach at Lewis S. Mills High School, in Burlington, CT, for 22 years, from 1965 to 1987, where she also coached basketball, cheerleading, badminton and tennis. She was
elected president of the Connecticut High School Coaches Association of 1983-84, and had served as secretary, second vice president, and first vice president of the Association. As president of the 3,000 member CHSCA, she was the first female president of the organization, and presided over executive board meetings and organized sport committees at the CIAC level. She received several coaches’ awards over the years, including the National Coach-of-the-Year for Girl’s Sports in District 1 in 1978, and three Coach-of-the- Year awards from the Connecticut Coaches Association. Karen was also involved with umpiring girl’s sports and was the umpiring chairman of field hockey officials in Connecticut, chairman of the Connecticut Basketball Officials, and a national basketball referee. In 2006, she was inducted into the Ken Hoagland Lewis S. Mills Athletic Hall of Fame.
JOHN T. DENUNZIO, 99, beloved husband of Catherine Masi DeNunzio, passed away at home in Middletown on July 3, 2020. Born in New York City on October 19, 1920, John and his family moved to New Britain, CT, in 1930. John’s devotion to athletics began at Nathan Hale Junior High School, where he played basketball and baseball, and
continued at New Britain High School, where he lettered in baseball and football and was named Honorable Mention to the 1939 Connecticut All-State football team. He was inspired to become a teacher and coach by his high school baseball and football coach, Chick Shea, whom he never forgot. John went to Morehead State College in Kentucky on a football scholarship and played there his freshman year before transferring to Teachers College of Connecticut (now Central Connecticut State University), where he played football and basketball. He played semiprofessional football after college for two years with the Hartford Blues. John’s college years were interrupted when he volunteered for service in the Army Air Corp during WWII. John flew as a radio operator on a B-17 with the 6th Emergency Air Sea Rescue Unit in the 5th Air Force in the Pacific Theater. He served three-and-a-half years as a sergeant. He also served as a radio instructor on air-to-air and air-to-ground communications at Yuma Army Airfield. Following his discharge in February of 1946, John completed his college education at Central. He earned his Master’s Degree at the University of Hartford. John taught industrial arts in Connecticut public schools for 39 years, beginning at Lyman Memorial High School, where he and Catherine met and courted. He went on to teach at Durham High School, where he began its industrial arts program. He then taught at Middletown High School, where, 32 years
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