William Stringfellow, the East Providence and Rhode Island football icon, died Thursday, February 13, 2020 at his home surrounded by his family. He was the husband of the late Sheila E. (Wood) Stringfellow to whom he was married for 61 years.
Born in East Providence, he was a son of the late William and Jennie (Bear) Stringfellow. He was a lifelong East Providence resident.
Bill taught in East Providence schools for 36 years and became a legendary football coach and athletic director. He has received numerous awards throughout the state and is a member of the East Providence High School Hall of Fame, the R.I. Football coaches Hall of Fame, the RI Gridiron Hall of Fame and the Hendricken High School Hall of Fame among others. He was also a Kodak Coach of the Year, Athletic Director of the Year and a recipient of the Savastano Sports Medicine Achievement Award. Coach Stringfellow was honored by the East Providence City Council in August 2014 by having the football press box at Pierce Stadium named for him and his wife, Sheila.
Mr. Stringfellow graduated from EPHS in 1945, playing football and wrestling as well as being a member of the Townie band. After high school he attended Wilbraham Academy and graduated from Springfield College in 1950. He is a US Army veteran and after his Army service he taught at St. Dunstan’s and then began teaching at Central Junior High School (now Martin) before teaching at East Providence High. Although primarily a football legend, Stringfellow was an all-around athlete and coached a winning Central Junior High basketball team in the sixties. He taught physical education and health. Known as an old-school tough guy coach, he was beloved by his students and players. The Townies won back to back state championships in 1969 and 1970 and again in 1979 and 1980. He became Athletic Director in 1977 for the city schools.
Coach Stringfellow was also East Providence’s first city recreation director, in a part time post for some 14 years. When he retired from EPHS, he was hired by Bishop Hendricken to coach freshmen football which he did for 10 years.
Bill Stringfellow leaves behind seven children; William Stringfellow, III and his wife Debbie, Arthur Stringfellow and his wife Christen, Peter Stringfellow and his wife Kristen, Paul Stringfellow and his wife Sheila, Todd Stringfellow and his wife Stacey, Jonathan Stringfellow and his wife Annie and Ann Taglianetti and her husband Ron, 25 grandchildren, 8 great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. He was the brother of the late Thomas S. Stringfellow.
His funeral will be held on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at 9:00 AM from the PERRY-McSTAY FUNERAL HOME, 2555 Pawtucket Avenue, East Providence with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 AM in St. Martha’s Church, Pawtucket Avenue. Burial with Military Honors will be in Gate of Heaven Cemetery. Calling hours Tuesday 4-8. Contributions in Mr. Stringfellow’s memory to Friends of Townie Athletics, PO Box 16521, East Providence, RI 02916 would be appreciated.