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Obituaries > CUNNINGHAM, FRANCIS O.

Francis “Ham” Oliver Cunningham, beloved husband of Mary (Polly) Murray Cunningham, died July 21, 2010. He was born at home on Newington Road, Elmwood, on March 22, 1918, the son of the late Thomas J. and Mary Tavernier Cunningham. He and his good friend, the late Kitty Dwyer, were the first infants baptized for the newly formed parish of St. Brigid. He attended Elmwood, Talcott and Hall High School where he was a class officer and was on the football and track teams. He graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1941, where he was a member and president of Eta Lambda Sigma (X House) later Sigma Nu, the Newman Club and was on the football and track teams. Immediately after graduation, he reported to Quantico, VA where he joined the United States Marine Corps’ 6th Reserve Officers Candidate Class and was commissioned in September 1941. He left for the Pacific shortly after Pearl Harbor. While overseas he joined the newly formed Marine Third Raider Battalion and served in Bougainville, Guam and Okinawa. Upon discharge, he was awarded the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In retirement he was a member of the 6th Reserve Officers’ Association and enjoyed the reunion with old friends. He was employed by IBM, Prudential Insurance Company and was an auditor for the State of Connecticut. He was a founding member of St. Helena Church where he was a Eucharistic Minister and also a member of the Holy Family Retreat League. He was a former president of the UCONN Alumni Association. A founding member of the West Hartford Boy’s Football League, he served as a game official for fifteen years. He was a member of the West Hartford Squires, enjoying playing golf with the group’s nine-holers. As he grew older “Ham” became more a believer in Peace and Justice and the futility of war. Never-the-less he never lost his pride in and love for the United States Marine Corps and its motto “Semper Fidelis” Always Faithful. Besides his wife, he is survived by his children Darcy F. Cunningham of New York City, Leila C. Walden of Hingham, MA and Mary C. Krewsun and her husband Harry of Spring Valley, CA, Brian T. Cunningham and Elizabeth Campo of West Hartford and Robert E. Cunningham of Westport, a daughter-in-law, Susan F. Cunningham of Newington, his grandchildren, Kate S. Rennie and her husband William C. Rennie of Weymouth, MA, Michael “Josh” Staunton and his wife Dianna Staunton of Woonsocket, R.I., Peter J. Staunton and Tori Voutiritsa of South Boston, MA, Darcey D. Cunningham and Shane Deka of Newington, Jennifer L. Cunninham of Newington and Conor Francis Krewsun of Spring Valley, CA, two great granddaughters, Erin and Fiona Rennie of Weymouth, MA, and a brother-in-law, Thomas J. Murray of Weston. He also leaves several cousins, nieces and nephews. Besides his parents he was predeceased by his son James M. Cunningham and two brothers and sisters-in-law, Edward and Dorothy Flynn Cunningham and Robert and Margaret Hudon Cunningham. Calling hours are Friday from 5-8 PM at the Sheehan Hilborn Breen F.H., 1084 New Britain Avenue, West Hartford. His funeral is Saturday 8:30 AM from the funeral home followed by a 9:30 AM Mass of Christian Burial in St. Helena Church. Burial will follow in St. Mary Cemetery, New Britain. Memorial donations in his memory may be sent to either the Maryknoll Sisters, P.O. Box 312, Maryknoll, NY 10545-0312 or to St. Helena Church Social Action and Funeral Ministries, 6 Echo Lane, West Hartford 06107.