Donald James Culligan
1923 - 2016
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Donald James Culligan, son, husband, United States Marine, father, grandfather, great-grandfather; former teacher, coach, and Tompkins County Representative, departed from his beloved South Hill for the next world on Sunday, November 6, 2016. Born on May 8, 1923 to Leontine Myers Culligan and George E. Culligan, Jr., Don lived an outsized life that profoundly influenced his family, students, athletes, friends, and community members. He and his late wife, Jane Elizabeth Kimple Culligan, were married for 71 years and raised 5 children: Thomas J. Culligan (Patrice, Amelia Island, FL.); Nancy J. Culligan (Ithaca, NY); Mary Ann Culligan Pitzer (Brian, Ithaca, NY); Kathryn Culligan Simon (John David Jones, Lexington, KY); and Paul G. Culligan (Michele, Troy, NY). Their home was always a lively gathering place for their extended family that included 13 grandchildren; Christa, Burke, and Brad Culligan; Patricia (Hohman), Joseph, and Susanne Yengo; Scott, Brent, and Matthew Pitzer; Claire Eileen Simon; Michael, Brian, and Kasey Culligan; and 12 great-grandchildren.

An alumnus of Ithaca High School (Class of 1941), Don entered the United States Marine Corps on February 12, 1943 where he was assigned to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing - Marine Night Fighter Squadron 533 based at Cherry Point, North Carolina. He served in the Pacific Theater of World War II in the Marshall Islands. A beneficiary of the GI Bill, Don earned his bachelor's degree in 1948 and his master's degree in 1951 from Ithaca College. He was a loyal supporter of Ithaca College and its athletic teams, attending many basketball and football games with friends well into his 80's. In 2006 Don was honored by his alma mater with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Don's 30 year successful career as a physical education teacher and athletics coach began in 1948 in Virgil, NY. Two years later he moved to Sherburne, NY where he coached football and basketball teams to undefeated seasons and conference championships. The Culligans had a lifelong affection for Sherburne, returning many times to visit friends and former students at class reunions. Don "Coach" Culligan was a legendary figure at Ithaca High School from 1956 - 1978. During that period he taught physical education, driver education and served as director of athletics. He coached many outstanding varsity basketball teams throughout his tenure compiling a 226-116 record, five Southern Tier Athletic Conference championships and five New York State Section IV titles. In 1969, he was named Coach of the Year by the Ithaca Journal, an honor that he shared with his friend and legendary Ithaca High football coach Joe Moresco. Don retired from the Ithaca City School District in 1978. He was inducted into both the Section 4 Hall of Fame and the Ithaca High School Athletic Hall of Fame. In recognition for his dedication and service, the center court at the Ithaca High gymnasium was named Culligan Court in 2004.

The Signal, November 12, 2016
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Published in The Santa Clarita Valley Signal from Nov. 17 to Nov. 18, 2016.
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