Mr. Richard L. “Dick” Cunningham, 91, of Elkhart, finally escaped this mortal realm following an extended illness on Sunday, May 3, 2020 at 9:35 pm at Greenleaf Living Center in Elkhart. “Experts” would say that COVID-19 had something to do with Dick’s passing, but the family believes that somehow Dick found out that Heaven passes out season tickets to all the Cubs games and went on to reserve himself a seat. He was born in Elkhart on March 6, 1929 to the late Ora H. and Zeffa (Jamison) Cunningham, Sr., and later married his loving wife Barbara J. Miller in Feb. 25, 1956 in Elkhart. She passed away in 2009.
Father, grandfather and life of the party, Dick was many things to many folks. And if this obituary is to be believed, he was a superhero as well. He leaves behind two loving and precious daughters; Pam (Mark) Kazmierczak of Granger and Toni Wagner of Elkhart, who were the primary benefactors of his abundant kindness, love and generosity, closely followed by his grandkids “Scooter Rezuto”, “The Fuz”, “Corky Jean” and “Rusty Jones”, and his 11 great grandchildren. Among those who did NOT receive Dick’s love were the Los Angeles Dodgers. Dick was never one to settle for given names; he much preferred using personally assigned nick names, and was known to bedevil his brother Ora Cunningham, Jr. his entire life with the nick name “Junie”. He is also preceded in death by his sisters Ruth, Helen, Maxine and Thelma as well as a nephew, Roger Devore.
Billings Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Elkhart will be hosting the memorial celebration of Dick’s life on Friday, May 15, 2020 at 1:00 pm, with visitation beginning at 12 noon. Pastor Chris Glantz of Granger Community Church will officiate and his cremated remains will be entombed at Rice Cemetery immediately following the service. Military honors will be rendered there by the US Army Funeral Honor Guard.
Dick was a man whose work ethic ran about as deep as his warped sense of humor. Following the military, where he served honorably in the US Army in Germany during the Korean War as a combat medic, Dick settled back in Elkhart where he worked at the Elkhart Rubber Works for many years. After they closed, he went on to chalk up another 27 years at CTS, where he finally retired in 1992. He was a prolific sports enthusiast, and absolutely loved his Chicago Cubbies, IU Basketball and playing golf. An excellent baseball player himself in his younger years, he was even scouted by the White Sox while playing ball in the Army. He was also a talented sketch artist.
Dick never let “little” things get in the way of living life, and he always had little sayings for just about everything life could throw at you. At one point, Dick broke his elbow but never let it heal completely because he didn’t want it to throw off his golf game. It was rumored that his score improved after that. He will be best remembered for coining the phrase “As you travel down life’s highway, be thankful that you got to meet me along the way!” Here’s to you, Dick!
Family and friends are encouraged to browse the funeral home’s website, where one can share the obituary, leave condolences for the family, order flowers, get directions and more. Memorial donations may be given to the American Kidney Foundation. As a final note, it was requested by the family that the Cubs organization provide pallbearers while doing nothing during this COVID-19 restriction, as the family has mentioned that the Cubs were always good at letting Dick down.
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