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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Saying goodbye

I'm still finding it hard to believe Bill Gonillo is no longer with us.
Many high school athletes in our coverage area may not have been familiar with the sports anchor from News Channel 12 based out of Fairfield County. Plenty of others may not have known Bill's name, but they knew the big man with the big heart, always carrying a camera on his shoulder, always at the center of the action.
High school sports teams in Milford, Stratford, Woodbridge and the surrounding towns should mourn the loss of Gonillo, 44, who died unexpectedly Sunday. Every time you turned around, or so it seemed, there was Gonillo, camera perched on his shoulder, shooting something he could use for his evening broadcasts. There were few people in our business of sports journalism as genuinely nice as Bill Gonillo.
I last saw him at Wilbur Cross High School on Sept. 14, shooting the Cross-Fairfield Prep football game. He approached me, tapped me on the shoulder, just to say hello, then both of us went back to doing what we do - cover the event. Naturally, as I write this, I wish I talked to him more that day. I wish I had one more chance to play golf with him.
But that's just it : you are never promised tomorrow. Gonillo lived for each day and had a great deal of passion for his work. The athletes and coaches he covered appreciated it, even if they weren't sure of his name, or where he worked.
I hope some of you reading this will take time out Wednesday between 4-8 p.m. to make the trip to the Chase Parkway Memorial Funeral Home in Waterbury to pay your respects. While we will all go on covering high school sports, it will not be the same without Bill Gonillo.
Feel free to share your thoughts with me.

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