Walter "Wally" R. Cichon Sr., 83, of Ellington, beloved husband of Lorraine (Genovesi) Cichon, passed away Friday peacefully at home surrounded by family after a long courageous battle with cancer.
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He was born Sept. 25, 1925, in Willimantic, the son of John and Sophie (Baran) Cichon. He was a longtime resident of Ellington and a communicant of St. Luke Church. In 1936, at the age of 11, he started his golf career at Willimantic Country Club caddying under head pro Willie Hunter. He began his professional golfing career at Willimantic Country Club at the age of 16 and was there until 1951. He continued as a golfing professionally at Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield from 1951 to 1958. In 1958, he proudly accepted the challenge of head professional at the opening of Ellington Ridge Country Club. It was there that he spent 29 years in a career he thoroughly loved and enjoyed while making many lifelong friends. In 1987, he retired from Ellington Ridge Country Club and was awarded an honorary lifetime membership. For several years as a PGA professional, he played on the PGA touring circuit during the winter months with the likes of Gene Sarazen, Jimmy Nichols, Julius Boros, Tommy Bolt, and Sam Snead. He played in the 1958 U.S. Open as well as the 1949 and 1951 PGA Championships. He was a three-time runner-up in both the Connecticut State PGA Championship and the Connecticut Open. In addition to other honors and accolades, Wally was awarded the Connecticut Section PGA Golf Professional of the Year in 1979 and the Connecticut Section PGA Teacher of the Year in 1987. He was truly an ambassador of the game throughout his 61 years as a member of the Professional Golfers Association of America. He loved traveling with his family every year to Key West, Fla., during the winter months and had fond memories of cross country trips with his wife. Wally was an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox and UConn basketball.
In addition to his loving wife of 49 years, he is survived by his daughter Deborah and husband, Gary Drown, of South Windsor, his son Walter Cichon Jr. and his wife, Shayne, of Vernon and daughter Kimberly and husband, John Downes, of Kensington; six grandchildren, Jesse and Zackry Drown, Jake Cichon, John, Erin and Matthew Downes; and a great-grandchild, Aiden Drown. He is also survived by his sister, Betty Brand of Columbia; and two brothers, Joseph Cichon and his wife, Adrienne, Stanley Cichon and his wife, Irene, all of Willimantic; his sister-in-law, Margaret "Peggy" Cichon of Worcester, Mass.; numerous nieces and nephews, and many wonderful friends. He was predeceased by a sister, Steffa Nacsin, and brother, Edward Cichon.
The family wishes to thank the Visiting Nurse and Health Services of Connecticut's North Central Hospice and Palliative Care Program for its compassion and tireless support during this time. A special thank you is extended to Audrey DeNunzio, Robin Fiorita, Cindy Kable, and Stacey Robbins for the extraordinary loving care they provided Wally during his illness.
Wally's family will receive relatives and friends on Wednesday, March 18, between 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. at Burke-Fortin Funeral Home, 76 Prospect St., Rockville.
His Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Thursday at 11 a.m. at St. Luke Church, 141 Maple St., Ellington, with assembly directly at the church. Interment will follow in Ellington Center Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Wally's name can be made to St. Luke Church, P.O. Box 246, Ellington, CT 06029, or the Visiting Nurse and Health Services of Connecticut, 8 Keynote Drive, Vernon, CT 06066.
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Published in Journal Inquirer from Mar. 16 to Mar. 20, 2009