CHIPPEWA FALLS — A former Chippewa Falls High School golf coach has died of COVID-19.
Rick Silloway, 70, had a passion for golf and teaching, friends and colleagues said. Silloway died Friday at an Eau Claire hospital of complications from the virus. Silloway had coached both the girls and boys golf teams at the high school for years, and he taught at Parkview Elementary School.
Cody Peterson, 33, was on the Chippewa Falls High School golf teams from 2002 through 2005. Peterson, who is now general manager at Lake Wissota Golf & Events, would later work alongside Silloway at the course. Peterson said Silloway coached the boys team for nearly four decades, and he helped launch the girls team a few years ago.
“For me, he was much more of a mentor than anything,” Peterson said. “It was very much a father-son thing. He was a special, special man. He wanted what was best for his students.”
Peterson said he remained close with Silloway after graduating from Chippewa Falls High School. When Silloway retired from teaching, he went to work at the golf course, so Peterson would see him two to five times a week over the past decade.
“He still played well throughout this last summer,” Peterson said. “He played a lot more this past year than in prior years.”
Silloway was a “very addicted amateur” golfer who loved working with students to improve their golfing skills, Peterson said.
“He enjoyed it so much,” Peterson said. “It was a big time commitment, even after he retired from teaching. But he loved it.”
Peterson said he learned 2½ weeks ago that Silloway was sick with COVID-19, and he had stayed in touch with him. He was saddened when he heard Silloway lost his battle with the virus.
“He was one of the best people you could come across,” Peterson said. “It’s a sad time for the community. We lost a good one.”
Altoona school district Superintendent Heidi Taylor-Eliopoulos, who used to be the Chippewa Falls School superintendent, echoed Peterson’s comments about Silloway’s death.
“Rick will continue to be remembered for how deeply he cared about his students and how much they, in return, adored him,” Taylor-Eliopoulos said. “Former students who are now parents have often referred to him as their most memorable teacher. He really was a great guy.”