In Memory of William Roland Ferrigno
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“As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.” Ben Hogan
William (Bill) R. Ferrigno of Pawcatuck, CT passed away peacefully on October 21, 2019 with his family by his side. He was 95 years old.
Born in Westerly, RI he was the son of Frank A. and Alice Dionne Ferrigno.
Bill was married to his loving wife, Marie Sebastianelli Ferrigno for 71 years and they raised six children. They enjoyed a long and loving life together before Marie passed away last June.
In his early years, Bill served as a P47 Fighter pilot in the Army-Air Force and later attended the University of Rhode Island on the GI Bill as a chemistry major. Bill pursued a productive career in chemistry at Electric Boat, General Dynamics and retired as Chief of Laboratory Services, Dept 322. Bill was also one of the first certified Marine Chemists in the United States and was often dispatched to various facilities across the country to oversee water safety testing.
Bill had many gifts; he was kind, loyal, smart and engaging, a good cook…and an excellent golfer. Up until recent months, Bill could shoot his age on his beloved 18-hole course at Winnapaug Country Club. Family and friends would marvel at Bill’s amazing recall of the various courses he played and the hole-by-hole description of his drives, wedge shots, and putts from matches played decades ago; these facts were verifiable by the hundreds of score cards Bill saved throughout the years.
In the 1930’s, Bill called Winnapaug Country Club his home, as his parents managed the club and he and his family lived above the clubhouse. He became a caddy at 10 years old; earning twenty-five cents for 18 holes and in later years became a scratch golfer. In his early twenties, as a pilot practicing a stall in the skies over Misquamicut Beach, Bill was forced to make an emergency landing and chose the 10th fairway at Winnapaug where he knew the terrain like the back of his hand.
Bill won the Winnapaug Club Championship in 1969, 1977, and 1978 and multiple regional tournaments including the Rhode Island Golf Association Senior Amateur Championship (55 years and older) in 1995 when he was 71 years old and the Super Senior Championship a few years later. Bill cherished his golfing buddies and to those he bet and beat, he loved taking their money and when they beat him, he’d say, “they just got lucky.”
Bill was a caring and generous Dad, devoted to his children and grandchildren and to any friend in need. We will miss how he lit up a room with his cheery disposition and great sense of humor and we will especially miss the awesome stories he shared with us about his life’s escapades.
Bill is predeceased by his loving wife, Marie, his sister, Betty Elsley (Dick) of Seaford, Delaware, brother-in-law Harold Stransky (AliceAnn) of Wilmington, Delaware, and brother-in-law and sister-in-law Joseph and Sidney Sebastianelli of Mystic, CT. He is survived by his sister, AliceAnn Stransky of Wilmington, Delaware and his six children: William “Michael” Ferrigno (Kathleen) of Ashaway, RI, Lisa Schmitz (Paul) of Hopkinton, RI, Betty Steadman (Stephen) of Pawcatuck, CT, Nanette Navarro (Kenneth) of Old Saybrook, CT, John Ferrigno (Louise Michelle) of Rehoboth, MA, and Melanie (Mark) Steinmetz of Pawcatuck, CT.
Bill leaves 11 grandchildren: Allison and Andrew Ferrigno, Michael and Matthew Schmitz, Simon and Mya Steadman, Frank and Alex Navarro, Samuel and William Ferrigno, and Max Steinmetz. Bill also leaves many nieces and nephews, and Jennifer Ferrigno (mother of Samuel and William Ferrigno). Lastly, Bill leaves his old dog Blue, who will be lovingly cared for the rest of his life.
A private service will be held at Gaffney-Dolan Funeral Home, 59 Spruce Street, Westerly, RI. Bill will also be laid to rest privately, with Full Military Honors, at Saint Michael the Archangel Cemetery in Pawcatuck, CT.
In lieu of flowers, kindly make donations in Bill’s memory to The Westerly Hospital Foundation. For on-line condolences please visit www.gaffneydolanfuneralhome.com