NORWALK, Conn. – William "Bill" A. Sunderland Jr. of Norwalk died Sept. 8 at Norwalk Hospital. He was 73.
He was born July 12, 1939, in Danbury to Dr. William A. Sunderland and Estelle Olsson Sunderland. He spent his early years in Danbury and graduated from Danbury High School.
After graduating from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., Sunderland served in both the Army and Air Guard. He worked for Xerox Corp. and Froehlich Trucking Co. before joining the Connecticut Laborers' Union.
Sunderland worked on many buildings and projects in the state, including the rebuilding of the Mianus Bridge after its collapse. After retiring from the union, he went to work at nuclear power plants in Pennsylvania and South Carolina.
He later worked with a local lobster fisher and as a waste inspector. He ended his working career as a welder for Hillard Bloom Shellfish Co. and described it as the best job he ever had, his family said.
Sunderland's first passion was auto racing. He was a member of Southern New York Racing Association and raced at many local tracks, including at Danbury Raceway, where he won many races and trophies and made lifelong friends. After the raceway closed, Sunderland started racing motorcycles. At the age of 71, he went to drag racing school in Gainesville, Fla.
He also had a love of the water, started while spending summers in Gloucester, Mass., when he was young. Sunderland moved to Norwalk to be closer to the water and Long Island Sound.
He and his wife, Donna, lived year-round on his sailboat, Rainbows End, for many years. He was a longtime member and former officer of the Ischoda Yacht Club in South Norwalk.
Sunderland is survived by his wife, Donna Yarde, of Norwalk; a daughter, Debra (Jim) Antonelli, of Tewksbury, Mass.; a stepdaughter, MaryBeth (Jim) Geronimo, of St. Augustine, Fla.; a stepson, Jeffrey (Danna) Yarde, of Norwalk; and two grandchildren and two step-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorial donations may be made to Adam Petty's Victory Junction Gang Camp, 4500 Adams Way, Randleman, NC 27317, or the Connecticut Hospice, 100 Double Beach Road, Branford, CT 06405.