John "Jack" Robert Cunningham

5 January, 19274 January, 2020
Obituary of John "Jack" Robert Cunningham
With heavy hearts we announce the peaceful passing of JOHN ROBERT “JACK” CUNNINGHAM, OC PhD on Saturday, January 4, 2020, surrounded by family members. Jack leaves his wife of 68 years, Sheila Margaret (née Reesor) Cunningham; loving father of five children including Joan (with partner Michael Wargovich), Ian (with Grace Parraga), Susan (with Paul Koeller), Karen (with Ken Jones) and Clifton. Adored grandfather of Andy, Calvin, Daryl, Jason, Pierre, Jordan, Lucy, Robin, Maggie and loved great-grandfather of Jayden, Farley and Ruby. He is predeceased by his brother Jim Smiles and son-in-law Darcy Flynn. Jack served in the Canadian Technical Training Corps just prior to the end of World War II and then studied Engineering Physics at the University of Saskatchewan (1945) and was awarded a PhD in Physics at the University of Toronto (1955). He joined the Physics Division of the Ontario Cancer Institute at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto in 1958 where he remained Chief of Clinical Physics and Professor at the University of Toronto until 1989. In 1964-65 he spent a year as a consultant with the International Atomic Energy Agency working in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon), providing his family of 4 children at that time and Sheila with a wonderful experience they would never forget. In 2005 he was installed as an Officer of the Order of Canada, recognizing his life-long contributions to the betterment of Canadians as “one of Canada’s most distinguished medical physicists”. He was an exceptional person, orator, innovator and pioneer of medical physics with a special appreciation of the importance of global cooperation and development. He was recognized internationally with awards from many professional organizations and acknowledged as a leader establishing the scientific groundwork of radiation cancer treatment. He and Harold Johns authored The Physics of Radiology which remains the authoritative text in the field. He had a wonderful smile and exceptional sense of humour, epitomized by the devilish delight he took playing the part of Jimmy the (naughty) Clown at the Princess Margaret Hospital Childrens’ Christmas parties for many years. He is dearly missed by his family and everyone who had the good fortune to know him.

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