Paul “Bunkie” Smith, born on June 17, 1953, in Framingham, was a beloved figure known for his blond hair, witty humor, and iconic mustache. He dedicated much of his life to his cherished community. Tragically, Bunkie passed away unexpectedly on September 24, 2023.
In 1971, Bunkie had a remarkable year. He graduated from Framingham South High School, where he excelled as a three-sport captain in hockey, baseball, and football. Additionally, he was drafted 10th by the Red Sox and became a catcher in their Farm League. That same year, he earned the Harry Agannis Memorial Trophy for New England’s Most Valuable Player. Bunkie’s passion for sports continued throughout his life, whether as a player in the men’s over-30 baseball league, the men’s hockey league, or as a coach and mentor to countless Framingham youth, especially in high school baseball and Framingham Legion Post 74 baseball. Recently, he celebrated his 40th year of refereeing high school football and Pop Warner.
Bunkie worked at Future Electronics for 25 years before transitioning to the Parks and Recreation Department in Framingham, where he retired in January.
While many knew Bunkie as an athlete, coach, and friend, to his family, he was so much more. He was a devoted family man, rarely seen without his wife Cheryl by his side. Together they enjoyed dining out, going to family events, walking their dogs and seeing their grandchildren. Bunkie cherished attending his daughters’ gymnastics and cheer competitions, soccer games, track meets, and school events, always the loudest spectator with his camcorder. He enjoyed outdoor adventures with his family and was a fervent supporter of Boston sports teams, especially the Patriots. He found happiness in family vacations to Hampton Beach and Ogunquit, ME. Marathon Monday was a favorite day on his calendar, and he had a passion for fishing and golfing with friends.
Bunkie was the most amazing husband to his wife Cheryl (Cardellicchio) of 46 “wonderful” years, and the best father to his daughters, Amanda Haywood & her husband Ken of Marlborough, and Lauren Smith & her boyfriend, Sean Calkins of So. Hadley. He was the proudest Grampy to his granddaughters, Braelyn, Amiyah, and Lexi. He loved taking them fishing, to the park, teaching them how to hit a ball, or just snuggling them in his favorite chair.
He was an amazing brother to Robert & his wife Gail of NH, and their son Ryan Smith and fiancé Emma and their children. Bunkie was very close with his only sister Barbara Smith, who was one of his biggest supporters. He was the son in law of Anna and the late Frank Cardellicchio. He was a brother in law, to Susan & her husband Marty Sannicandro and their children the late Frank Topham, Joey Sannicandro and wife Michelle and their children and Gina and her husband Mike Russell. He was also a brother in law to Judie & her husband Rick DiGregorio and their children Krysta Messer and husband Dan and Kara DiGregorio. He is also survived by many more nieces, nephews, cousins and was simply a friend to all.
Bunkie’s love extended to animals, particularly his two dogs, Riley who recently passed and Maggie.
Family and friends will gather to honor Bunkie’s life with visiting hours at the McCarthy, McKinney & Lawler Funeral Home on Monday, October 2nd, from 3-8 PM. His Funeral Mass will be held at St. Stephen Church, Tuesday, October 3rd at 10 AM, followed by interment in St. Stephen Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Bunkie’s memory can be made to The American Heart Association at www.heart.org.
To share a memory with Bunkie’s family, kindly visit www.mccarthyfh.com