Cannamela touched hundreds of lives as an English teacher, working in the Waterford School District for 36 years at both Clark Lane Middle School and Waterford High School before retiring in 2008.
Cannamela always went above and beyond, serving as President of the Waterford Federation of Classroom Teachers, as a Team Leader, and as Language Arts Department Chair. He also coached Waterford Boy’s Cross Country and Girls’ Softball.
"Mike was a phenomenal teacher that some of my own children were lucky to have. He was a true educator. He opened up students' eyes to learning experiences that they will never forget and students still talk about his classes long after they have had him for a teacher," writes Board of Education member Jody Nazarchyk, who coached Little League softball with Cannamela for four years when their daughters played together. "He made softball so much fun for our team. He gave our players many happy memories."Cannamela was also active in town politics, serving as a member of the Representative Town Meeting and on the School Building Committee.
He leaves behind his wife, Joan; daughter, Katie Cannamela and her partner, Annamara Montesi; his daughter, Gabrielle and her husband, Christopher Kyne and his granddaughter, Aquinnah Kyne.
"Mike was a very caring and giving husband, father, grandfather, son, teacher, coach, and friend. He will be greatly missed and we're so lucky to have known him," writes Nazarchyk in an email to Patch.
A celebration of Cannamela's life will be held sometime in the spring. In the meantime, people wishing to honor his memory may make donations to the New London Area Food Pantry.