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HURON - Anthony M. Munafo died peacefully surrounded by family on May 30, 2019 at Stein Hospice, Sandusky.
Tony was born in New York City in a section known as Hell’s Kitchen to Gaetano and Antonina Munafo (Russo). Tony was a graduate of Holy Name High School in Cleveland, Ohio, then attended Heidelberg College for two years before being inducted into the Army. Tony served his country as an Airborne Ranger and Platoon Sergeant during the Korean Conflict while also being honored as all-Army on the Inter-service Football League. After receiving an honorable discharge he resumed his education at Heidelberg where he was a member of the Excelsior Men’s Society and ‘H’ Association. Tony was captain of the football team and earned All American Honors as an offensive guard before graduating with a degree in Psychology and Business. During these college years, he met the love of his life in Mary Elizabeth (Betty) who survives. This loving marriage lasted over 60 years. Four loving children were the result of this magnificent union.
After graduation and a brief foray in business, Tony returned to Heidelberg to obtain his teaching credentials and coach football under legendary coach Paul Hoerneman, thus the genesis of his illustrious coaching career that spanned over five decades.
Tony honed his craft coaching at two of the most storied football programs in Ohio history under the tutelage of renowned coaches Ben Wilson and then Earle Bruce. He was on the staff for the Sandusky Blue Streaks during the “Sensational Sixties”, then two undefeated state championship teams at Massillion Washington High School. In 1966, Tony decided to make the life-changing decision and accept the head coaching position at Huron High School where he also taught business, psychology, health and P.E. During this remarkable career for the Tigers, in what became a legendary 23 year run, Coach Munafo amassed a 153-64-7 record, while winning 9 SBC championships, 3 undefeated seasons and a 24 game winning streak. Coach Munafo was named Ohio Coach of the Year in 1976 and 1987 and is enshrined in the Ohio Football Coaches Hall of Fame, Heidelberg Athletic Hall of Fame and the Huron Athletic Hall of Fame. While at Huron Tony also coached wrestling, track and field, and girls’ basketball.
After a one year retirement from Huron, Tony returned to the Sandusky Blue Streaks staff under yet another legendary coach in Larry Cook, and continued to churn out great offensive linemen. During this time Tony also reunited with his old coaching partner Earle Bruce and coached the Cleveland and St. Louis franchises of the Arena Football League.
After fully retiring from coaching he devoted his remaining years to his family which included his four children, who survive: Gaetano (Linda Yoder), Marjorie, Anthony Jr. (Marisa) and Marc (Kristy Bedell), ten grandchildren Mario Munafo, Andrew Lichtle, Bradley Lichtle, Vince Munafo, Anthony Munafo, Alexandra Munafo, Jack Munafo, Anthony Munafo and Gina Munafo, who survive.
Along with Tony’s parents, he was preceded in death by his sisters Carmella (James) Pavlas, Mary (Julius) Sciarappa, Adeline (Mike) Tymoszczuk, Rosalie (Louis) Pavlas and a grandson Dominic Munafo.
Tony’s life was centered on family, faith and love of country. More important to Tony than winning on the football field was the fact that he was able to touch the lives and have a positive impact on thousands of young people who came into contact with him. Tony Munafo’s ultimate goal was to instill character pride and morality in each of his young players and students.
In his final years he was able to enjoy hunting, fishing in the Florida Keys, and pursuing his love of woodworking and as an altar server and lay distributor for St. Peters Catholic Church in Huron.
Friends may call Sunday, June 2nd from 3 to 7 p.m. at St. Peter Catholic Church Gathering Space, 430 Main St, Huron. Funeral mass will take place Monday, June 3rd at 10:30 a.m. with Rev. Jeff McBeth officiating.
Cremation will take place and a private family committal will be held at a later date at Meadow Green Memorial Cemetery, Huron.
In lieu of flowers the family would like donations to be directed to St. Peter Catholic Church, 430 Main Street, Huron 44839; Stein Hospice, 1200 Sycamore Line, Sandusky; Firelands Regional Medical Center, 1111 Hayes Ave, Sandusky; or to the Huron Athletic Booster Club, P.O. Box 285, Huron 44839.
Online condolences maybe shared at www.fosterfh.com
Foster Funeral Home & Crematory, Huron, is assisting the family.