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James “Cooney” D. Coonan, 69, of La Crosse, Wis., died Saturday, May 27, 2017 in Mayo Health System, La Crosse, Wis.
He was born in Milwaukee, Wis., on November 19, 1947 to Donald J. and Ruth D. (Schmidt) Coonan. He was preceded in death by his parents.
He is survived by one sister; Kathleen (Philip) Bouche of Oconomowoc, Wis., as well as, a niece, Megan (Timothy) of Chicago, Ill., and great-nephew Redfield, and nephew, Patrick (Holly) of Oconomowoc, Wis., and great-nephew Bennett and great-niece Cora. His extended family included many cousins and close friends.
Jim graduated from Pius XI high school in 1965 and UW-Whitewater in 1970. He played baseball for both schools, always as a pitcher. He attended graduate school at UW-La Crosse, earning a Master’s degree in Physical Education. He then served as a teacher and coach at St. James, St. Mary’s, Blessed Sacrament and Cathedral Catholic Elementary Schools. Jim was also a pitching coach at St. Mary’s College and UW-La Crosse from 1976-1984. Starting in the mid-1980s, Jim taught and coached at La Crosse Logan, La Crosse Central and Aquinas High Schools. The last 16 years he served as a coach Aquinas.
He began coaching the La Crosse Post 52 American Legion baseball team in 1976 and was the rock of the program for the last 42 years. Jim’s teams won Wisconsin State championships in 1978, 1980-1982, 1987 and 2001. His Legion teams advanced to state 24 times over the years, and he was inducted into the Wisconsin American Legion Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012.
Jim coached many state champions and touched many hearts. He is famous for his fish fry, wings and spaghetti.
A Celebration of Life ceremony will be held on Sunday, June 11, 2017, at the American Legion Post 52 at 711 6th Street S, La Crosse, Wis. Family and Friends may visit from 1:00 to 4:00pm.
In lieu of flowers, consider a donation to a scholarship fund to be created in Cooney’s honor. Additional details will be shared at the Celebration on June 11.
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