Larry “Coach Cal” Caldieraro Jr., 57, of Staunton passed away on Monday, September 18, 2023, at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, MO. He was born on January 21, 1966, in Staunton, a son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence “Pops” and Kathy (Hanneken) Caldieraro Sr.
Larry was a man of many hats (literally and figuratively!). He married Elizabeth (Liz) on March 13, 1993, and they welcomed their first child, Sarah, while building their home, coaching football, and working at Staunton High School. His skilled hands and heart built a home that welcomed three more children (Larry III, Vincent, and Rebecca) in the next seven years. His greatest joy in life was seeing his family grow and reap the benefits of his labor. He always considered his job enjoyable, and going to work every day was not a hardship for him.
Coach Cal, as he was known to many, was instrumental in the success and longevity of several local sports teams. His first love was football, which he played at Staunton High School and Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and brought that love to the students he coached in West Frankfort, Gillespie, Mt. Olive, and Staunton. He was fortunate to be part of the staff with the 1990 Gillespie Miners Football team when they achieved their state runner-up status; he was the head coach with the Staunton Bulldogs baseball team when they reached the semifinals in 1994; he was assistant/defensive coach to the multi-year playoff Staunton Bulldogs football teams in the 1990’s; and he helped coach the Mt. Olive Wildcats to multi-year football playoff berths in the 2000’s. He also helped coach the Jaguar Junior Football League during his sons’ touch-to-tackle years. Larry finished his distinguished coaching career as an assistant baseball coach and assistant football coach for the Staunton Bulldogs. Larry considered it an honor to coach the sports he loved, influencing hundreds of young men along the way with his love of sport, teamwork, dedication, and commitment.
Larry was the vocational education teacher at Staunton High School for 32 years and frequently used his construction skills and knowledge out of the classroom, as well. During the summer or weekends you could find him working on putting up siding here, renovating rooms there, or lending his design skills to turning a barn into a home, helping design new structures or renovate something old into something new. No job was too big or too small. He employed high school students for those extra summer jobs, continuing his teaching in small sessions to interested young men. Larry filled any free time with his family, and helping his friends and neighbors by farming, repairing machinery, emergency home repair, plowing snowy driveways and tilling gardens. He also enjoyed camping, hunting, golfing, fishing, and smoking a mean brisket and ribs.
He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Caldieraro of Staunton; four children , Sarah (Adam) Schulte of Mt. Olive, Larry Caldieraro III (Emily Frerichs) Staunton, Vincent Caldieraro of Staunton, and Rebecca Caldieraro of Staunton; two sisters, Angela (James) Bentley of Springfield and Cara (Brent) Reed of Pendleton, IN; brother, Bart (Carmen) Caldieraro of Greenville; two granddaughters, Della & Ada Schulte of Mt. Olive; uncle, John (Susan) Caldieraro of Staunton; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by a grandson, Samuel Schulte.
Friends may call on Sunday, September 24, 2023, from 3 to 8 PM at Williamson Funeral Home in Staunton. Funeral mass will be held Monday, September 25, 2023, at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Staunton with Father Tom Hagstrom officiating. The burial will be held at Memorial Park Cemetery in Staunton.
Memorials are suggested to The Staunton High School Football Program, Staunton High School Baseball Program or to the Gillespie High School Football Program. The family will also be establishing a scholarship for students pursuing careers in vocational field.