Bill J. Cunningham, 86, WaKeeney, died Saturday, June 8, 2019, in WaKeeney.
He was born March 21, 1933, in rural Canton to Ray and Myrtle (Bacon) Cunningham. He attended grade school in Canton, McPherson and Bennington.
Following school he went directly to work at his aunt and uncle’s farm in Bennington for several years before moving to WaKeeney where he worked with his brother-in-law, Clayton Brown doing, construction. He later took a job driving a water truck until he entered the Army in January 1956. He was stationed at Fort Richardson, U.S. Army in Anchorage, Alaska, where he was part of the cross country ski patrol.
He married Norma Lee Berschauer on Dec. 27, 1957, in Lawton, Okla. They renewed their wedding vows in the presence of their children and grandchildren 55 years later on Dec. 27, 2012. She preceded him in death Nov. 8, 2015. He had various jobs and trades that he learned on his own. These included operating heavy equipment, welding, farming and doing mechanic work. He was a hard worker and meticulous for anyone who gave him the opportunity. He had great pride in his accomplishments which included helping build Interstate 70, Milford Reservoir (the largest man-made lake in Kansas) and Cedar Bluff Reservoir. He enjoyed his friends while working at Malsom Terracing Co. and The Allied Corp. After retirement he kept busy helping his son at TJ’s Alignment in any way he could and delivered cars as needed.
He enjoyed working with his wife in their huge vegetable garden and chatting with his friends at the WaKeeney Eagles Lodge. He had a great sense of humor and was always ready to share a good story. After retirement he traveled with his family on various cruises and vacations. In his later years, he delighted in joking with his sister Dee, teasing his grandchildren and watching his grand-dog Bandi. He enjoyed wearing his favorite hat while driving a daily route around WaKeeney in his red Dodge pickup.
Survivors include three sons, Rick Cunningham and wife, Nancy (Durler) and William Cunningham and wife, Dawn (Dubach), all of Ellis, and Terry Cunningham and his dog, Axel, WaKeeney; two daughters, Becky Oller and husband, Paul, WaKeeney, and Janet Durheim and husband, Steve, Ellis; a sister, Verla Dee Robinson, WaKeeney; 10 grandchildren, Jena Stunkel (Pfannenstiel) and husband, David, Briana Towner (Oller) and husband, Michael, Travis Elder, Sara Nations (Cunningham) and husband, Chris, Eric Cunningham and wife, Sarah, Matt Cunningham, Jamie Durheim, Emily Hiss (Durheim) and husband, Michael, Derek Kvasnicka, and Sierra Cunningham; six great-grandchildren, Kyliee Towner, Lola Stunkel, Ruby Stunkel, Oliver Hiss, Shelbie Towner and Rose Cunningham.
He was preceded in death by his parents; three brothers, Richard “Dick” Cunningham, Eldon Cunningham, and Sam Cunningham; two sisters, Betty “Sis” Brown and Peg Sinning; and his grandson, Jeffrey Cunningham.
Graveside services will be at 10 a.m. Friday in Kansas Veterans' Cemetery, WaKeeney.
Memorials are suggested to Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Trego County Lemke Memorial Hospital or WaKeeney Fraternal Order of Eagles Lodge in care of Brock’s-Keithley Funeral Chapel, 2509 Vine, Hays, KS 67601.