Joseph Francis Cullinan, 81, of Darien, CT passed away peacefully at his home while surrounded by his loving wife, children and grandchildren.

Joseph was born in Stamford, CT on January 19, 1934, and was the son of Margaret (nee Cunningham) of Cork City, Ireland, and Michael Cullinan, of Fanore, in County Clare, Ireland.

Growing up in Stamford, Joseph often reminisced about his childhood. He loved riding around town, swimming in the local watering holes and playing ball. Recalling many Saturday afternoons watching John Wayne adventure movies, and the accompanying newsreels, he developed a passion for history, and stories of battles and bravery. Inspired by deep patriotism, Joseph enlisted in the service at age 14, but was promptly discharged at his mother’s request. Finally coming of age, he joined and proudly served in the U.S. Army.

As a young man, Joseph married and later settled in Vista, NY, to raise his five children. Inquisitive and mechanical by nature, he worked tirelessly to refine his abilities as a machinist, teaching himself, and eventually his son, the same trade. Whether fabricating food packaging or medical devices at work, building his family’s home, or working on his car or plane, he would often fashion his own tools to complete any given project. He achieved his dreams of becoming a licensed private pilot, and owning his own small aircraft, and he was proud to serve on the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, patrolling the Hudson River, receiving a service award in 1986.

Later, Joseph remarried, and he and his wife lived in Darien. They enjoyed many trips together, with Joseph recalling Italy as one of his favorites. Passionate about flying, Joseph enjoyed day trips to Nantucket or Block Island for lunch with his wife, or longer trips with his son and fellow pilot, Nick. Of the many flying adventures to Tampa, FL and Oshkosh, WI, he proudly recalled his most challenging flying adventure was to the Bahamas. Together, their blended family shared many special holidays and events.

Joseph loved good food, a cold beer or two, and long discussions. He was always proud of his children, step-children and grandchildren, and appreciated their unique gifts, often with unspoken admiration. He loved to be surrounded by them, and rarely missed an opportunity to be in the company of family. His good humor, and his quiet, powerful and loving presence will be greatly missed.

Joseph is survived by his wife, Teresa, his sister, Mary Ball of Wilton, CT; five children; Michael Cullinan (Cathy) of Plainsboro, NJ, Joseph Cullinan of Vershire, VT, Margaret Cullinan-Hill of New Canaan, CT, Nicola Cullinan (Katie) of Bethel, CT and Maria Naughton (Bob) of New Canaan, CT; two step-children; Anne Tomaselli (Larry) of Norwalk, CT and Meg Doyle of Norwalk, CT; fourteen grandchildren; Austin, Micayla, Katie, Aidan, Elizabeth, Alexandra, Siobhan, Bobby, Kathleen, Susan, Laura, Michelle, Shane and Michael, and one great-grand daughter, Marlina. He was predeceased by a brother, Michael Cullinan.

The family will received friends at the Edward Lawrence Funeral Home, 2119 Boston Post Road, Darien on Thursday, January 7, 2016 from 4:00 to 8:00 PM. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at St. Thomas More Church, 374 Middlesex Road in Darien on Friday, January 8, 2016 at 10:30 AM. Interment will follow at Spring Grove Cemetery, Darien. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society at https://donate.cancer.org.

— by the Family