Richard Joseph Cunningham

Richard Joseph Cunningham



            Richard Joseph Cunningham, 86, of Rancho Mirage. Calif. and Chatham died November 16, 2017 after a brief illness.


            Born on May 8, 1931, in Evanston Ill., Dick was the son of the late William Cunningham and his wife Guila (French), formerly of Bronxville N.Y.


            He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Emily (Dexter) Cunningham, daughter of the late Wallace Dexter formerly of Chatham and the late Bernice (Baldwin) formerly of Chatham and his first wife Elisabeth (Brennig) Gaines.


            He is also survived by two sons, the Rev. Christopher (LtCol USMCR) and his wife LeighAnna (Feeser) of Grosse Pointe Park, Mich. and William Scott (CAPT USNR) and his wife Jenny (Moore) of Falls Church, Va.; six grandchildren, Christopher Robert of Chicago Ill., Elisabeth of New Paltz N.Y., Phillip of Richmond Va., William and his wife Katherine (Hill) of Boston, Allison of Alexandria Va. and George Wiley of Falls Church Va. He also has nephews William, David and Richard Evans who have been an important part of his life.


            Dick attended DePauw University, entered the USMC through the Naval Cadet and trained as a pilot in the F4U Corsair, eventually transitioning to Saber Jets (FJ-3)  at MCAS Cherry Point N.C. After leaving the Marine Corps Reserve as a Captain he was hired by Pan American Airways as a pilot, flying the Atlantic routes in DC-7Cs. After being furloughed due to the arrival of jets, Pan American Sales and Marketing Division sent him to Frankfurt, Germany, and also to Lagos, Nigeria, as a consultant to Nigeria Airways. Returning to the USA he became Military Manager for Pan American in Detroit and New York during the Vietnam War, helping to arrange Rest and Recuperation for our soldiers. His love for flying continued with Emily, flying Beechcraft Bonanzas across the country. In the mid-1970s he moved to the Village of Wayne in the Chicago suburbs, developing two successful businesses in travel and healthcare.


            He was very active in the community, as a Board Member at Sunrise Country Club, Rancho Mirage Calif.; with the Monomoy Yacht Club and US Coast Guard Auxiliary, Chatham and as a Board Member at Dunham Woods Riding Club, Wayne, Illinois.


            After retiring to California and Massachusetts in 1993 and moved to Rancho Mirage in 1996. He enjoyed tennis, golf, and flying.


            He was preceded in death by a sister, Ann Evans of Greenwich Conn.


            After cremation, remembrances of his life will be held at a future date in Chatham according to his wishes.


            Entrusted to the care of Wiefels Funeral Directors, Palm
Spring, Calif.