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Jeffrey Russell Cunningham
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Obituary for Jeffrey Russell Cunningham

Jeffrey Russell Cunningham,73, of Tacoma, Washington, formerly of Ottawa, Kansas, died peacefully May 10, 2017, from complications from a successful battle with pancreatic cancer.

Graveside services and inurnment will be held at 2:00 P.M., Friday, June 2, 2017, at Mt. Hope Cemetery, Williamsburg, Kansas. Family will meet with friends following the service at Williamsburg United Methodist Church.

Jeff was born September 21, 1943, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the son of Russell and Dorothy (Hentschel) Cunningham. He grew up in Twin Falls, Idaho, leaving there to attend Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kansas, in 1961, graduating with a double major in History-Political Science and Speech-Debate in 1965. He then attended the University of Nebraska in speech and debate intending to be a college professor. In 1966, he married Sharon Bond, a fellow student at Ottawa University. They spent a year in North Dakota where Jeff was debate coach at Minot State College and Sharon taught high school French.

While getting ready for work one morning, Jeff got a call from the U.S. Department of State asking if he wanted to be in the next Foreign Service junior officer class. (He had already passed both the written and oral exams.) Deciding that it was worth a try, he and Sharon moved to Washington, D.C., beginning a 31-year diplomatic career focused primarily on economic affairs. Jeff served in 9 foreign countries in Asia, Europe, South and Central America, and Canada, interspersed with 10 years in Washington, D.C. Daughter Paige was born in Washington, D.C. in 1982.

In 1998, he retired and moved from Guatemala to Tacoma, Washington, where he served terms as president of the Tacoma Historical Society, 27th District Leader for the GOP, treasurer for Associated Ministries, and was involved in other community and church activities. He loved travel, hiking, biking, and attending the opera and symphony.

He is survived by wife Sharon Bond Cunningham, daughter Paige Danielle Cunningham, brother Stephen Cunningham and wife Deanna of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family suggests memorial contributions to Ottawa University or Williamsburg United Methodist Church or Williamsburg Library c/o Dengel & Son Mortuary, 235 S. Hickory, Ottawa, Kansas 66067. Family and friends are encouraged to post their condolences and memories on Jeffrey’s Tribute Wall at www.dengelmortuary.com


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Previous Events

Graveside Inurnment Services

Friday

2

Jun

2:00 PM
Mt. Hope Cemetery

875 Finney Rd.
Williamsburg, KS 66095

Family will meet with friends following the service at Williamsburg United Methodist Church.

Reception

Friday

2

Jun

2:30 PM
Williamsburg United Methodist Church

211 E South
Williamsburg, KS 66095

Cemetery Details

Location

Mt. Hope Cemetery

875 Finney Rd.
Williamsburg, KS 66095


Memorial Contribution

Ottawa University

c/o Dengel & Son Mortuary, 235 S. Hickory, Ottawa, Kansas 66067.

Williamsburg United Methodist Church

c/o Dengel & Son Mortuary, 235 S. Hickory, Ottawa, Kansas 66067.

Williamsburg Community Library

c/o Dengel & Son Mortuary, 235 S. Hickory, Ottawa, Kansas 66067.
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