Taught P.E. in East Greenwich for 35 years, coached tennis & basketball and served as athletic director
It is with great sadness that the family of Paul Owen Wragg, 83, announces his passing on May 3, at St. Elizabeth’s Home in East Greenwich. He was the devoted husband of his high school sweetheart, Judith (Reynolds) Wragg, for more than 56 years. Paul was born on January 8, 1940, to the late John Wragg, Sr., and Gladys Hall, and grew up in Coventry.
Paul was a graduate of Coventry High School, ‘58, the University of Rhode Island, ‘63, and later received a master’s degree from Providence College. As a 1st Class Corpsman for the United States Coast Guard, Paul was aboard the USS Humboldt when it traveled to Guantanamo Bay during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Paul received a rescue commendation in 1964 for helping save the life of a Brown University student in the frigid waters off Fox Point. He continued his Coast Guard service in the reserves until 1971.
Following the completion of his active duty in the Coast Guard, Paul embarked on a 35-year career of teaching physical education and health for the East Greenwich School Department. During that time he also served as athletic director, and for many years coached high school tennis and basketball. Paul and the East Greenwich Girls’ Basketball team received the Providence Journal Bulletin Sportsmanship Award in 1991, the same year the team won the Class B State Championship. His teams and student athletes were often recognized for the manner in which they carried themselves on and off the court, earning him a spot in the East Greenwich High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Paul also felt honored to be inducted into the Coventry High School Athletic Hall of Fame for his own achievements. As a standout athlete playing three sports, Paul and the baseball team won the high school’s first State Championship, and he was scouted by the Detroit Tigers while at Coventry. He was named Outstanding Senior Athlete in 1958.
Paul had a wonderful sense of humor and an engaging personality. He believed in hard work and was fulfilled by helping others. Although his greatest joy was being a husband, father, and grandfather, his kindness and compassion extended far beyond his immediate family. He was often approached by former students thanking him for the impact he had on their lives.
Upon his retirement from teaching in 1995, he ran a successful house painting business and enjoyed several trips across the country with his wife Judith. He continued to play and coach tennis, and enjoyed golfing with his friends. He also took great pride in tending to his gardens and flowers. He cherished every moment spent with family, especially his grandsons.
Besides his wife Judith, Paul is survived by his daughter Melissa (Wragg) Sangiuliano and her husband Gino of Barrington, and his son Gregory Wragg of Warwick. He was also the loving grandfather of Michael and Matthew Sangiuliano. Additionally, he is survived by his siblings John Wragg, Richard Wragg, and Rebecca Bonenfant. He was predeceased by his brother Ernest Wragg.
A celebration and remembrance of Paul’s life will be held on Thursday, May 11, at Iannotti Funeral Home at Maple Root, 2000 Nooseneck Hill Road (Rt.3), in Coventry. Visiting hours will be from 9 to 10:45 a.m., followed by a prayer service. The burial will take place at St. Joseph’s Cemetery, 959 Nooseneck Hill Road, West Greenwich. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Paul’s name to the Hope Alzheimer’s Center, 25 Brayton Ave, Cranston, Rhode Island 02920, an organization that provided constant guidance and support during a difficult time. The family would also like to thank the staff at St. Elizabeth’s Home for the incredible support and care they provided during his final days.
You can leave an online condolence at the Iannotti Funeral Home HERE.
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