William A. Sunderland

July 12, 1939 ~ September 8, 2012


William A. Sunderland, Jr. 73, of Norwalk, passed peacefully on Saturday, September 8th at Norwalk Hospital.

Bill was born in Danbury, CT on July 12, 1939 to the late Doctor William A. Sunderland and Estelle Olsson Sunderland.  Bill spent his early years in Danbury and graduated from Danbury High School.  After graduating from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and before he started his very varied and interesting work career Bill served his country in both the Army and Air Guard.  Bill worked for Xerox Corporation and Froehlich Trucking Company before joining the Connecticut Laborers’ Union.  While working as a laborer he worked on many buildings and projects in the state including the Mianus Bridge after its collapse.  After retiring from the Union, and always looking for something new to try, Bill went to work at nuclear power plants both in Pennsylvania and South Carolina. He then worked with a few local lobstermen and as a Waste Inspector taking contaminated dredging waste, by tug boat, to designated areas on Long Island Sound. Bill ended his working career at what he said was “the best job I ever had”, Hillard Bloom Shellfish Company as a welder.


While Bill was always a hard worker his first passion was auto racing.  Bill was a member of SNYRA and raced at many local tracks and of course, at Danbury Raceway where he won many races, trophies and made lifelong friends.   After Danbury Raceway closed, Bill took to racing motorcycles, where he met his nearest and dearest friends, Rick and Nancy Valine. Bill never lost the bug to race and at the tender age of 71, went to drag racing school in Gainesville, FL. His second passion, Bill’s love of the water started at a young age while spending summers in Gloucester, MA.  Bill moved to Norwalk to be closer to the water and Long Island Sound.  He purchased his sailboat, “Rainbows End” which he and his wife Donna lived on, year round, for many years.  Bill was a long time member and former officer of the Ischoda Yacht Club in South Norwalk.  To his nearest and dearest friends Bill had many nicknames, “Sunshine” from his racing days, and Captain Bill, Diesel Bill, Tug Boat Bill and “S” Bill by his many, many friends at the Ischoda Yacht Club.


Bill is survived by his beloved wife, Donna Yarde of Norwalk, daughter, Debra Antonelli (Jim) of Tewksbury, Ma, grandchildren, Ashley and Christopher Antonelli, stepdaughter, MaryBeth Geronimo (Jim) of St. Augustine, FL, stepson, Jeffrey Yarde (Danna) of Norwalk and step grandchildren James and Michael Geronimo.


There will be no calling hours, but a Memorial Service will be held in Bill’s honor in the near future.  Donations may be made, in remembrance of Bill to either, Adam Petty’s Victory Junction Gang Camp, 4500 Adams Way, Randleman, NC 27317 or The Connecticut Hospice, 100 Double Beach Road, Branford, CT 06405.

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