Christine Ingeborg Cunningham

February 23, 1925January 7, 2021

Christine Ingeborg Cunningham was born on February 23, 1925 to Georg and Katharina Spichtinger in Zwickau, Germany. Christine, then known as Christa, grew up in what was to become East Germany. As a young adult after World War II she worked in another city and became separated from her family including her young son, Bernd Vogel. She was in the English section, and her family was in the Russian section. She told stories of her daring trips to visit them. Oh, the stories she could tell . . . crossing no-man’s land, and getting detained by Russian soldiers, hiding under a Red Cross train when under siege by the enemy. She was such a kind soul with so much strength.

Shortly after the end of the war she met Leland Cunningham, a young U. S. Army troop, on a blind date. Some would say, “that’s all she wrote.” Leland (Kenneth) became the love of her life, and they were married on January 29, 1949 in Germany and again later after Christine rejoined her husband at the airport in Des Moines, Iowa, with infant daughter Susanne in arms.

Chris and Ken had three more children—Ronald, Colin, and Tammy, raising all four in Des Moines and later in rural Elkhart. Through much of their life together, Chris worked at the makeup counter at Walgreens and enjoyed learning about the newest products and their application. She enjoyed crocheting and knitting. At age 95 she remained an avid user of her iPad. She loved to bake and cook the best meals for family and friends. She had a delicious secret potato salad recipe no one could replicate. She was an enthusiastic member of the German-American Club. Christine was very social and knew no strangers.

After losing her love, Ken, Christine moved into an independent living apartment at Prairie Vista in Altoona where she made friends, did crafts, and participated in chair Tai Chi. All the staff and health care professionals commented on how enjoyable it was to know Christine and how sweet she was. Friends have commented that she was the sweetest and kindest person ever. Christine frequently gave little gifts to her friends, caregivers, and family. She was always available to help anyone in need.

Christine passed away on January 7 at Lutheran Hospital. She was preceded in death by her parents, son Bernd Vogel, son Ronald Cunningham, and husband Kenneth. She leaves behind her children Susanne (Ron) Dean, Tammy Bruening, Colin (Jan) Cunningham, nine grandchildren, eleven great grandchildren, and two great great grandchildren.

A celebration of life is planned for the spring.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Christine Ingeborg Cunningham

have a memory or condolence to add?

Glen Sayre

January 12, 2021

Christine Cunningham was someone I had known most of my life. Susan, Ronnie and Colin lived 5 houses down the street from us when we were in grade school on East Washington street. (Tammy wasn't born yet).She was the first person I had ever met that was not like everyone else I knew. She spoke a different language and had some unusual traditions. They moved a few years later to E 38th st court and less than a year later we moved to E 38th street and they became our backyard neighbors. We even had a gate going between the yards so us youngsters didn't have to be jumping the fence all the time. The memories of her were all about kindness and her example proved to me people from around the world all are just like me but have customs and beliefs that everyone should embrace. She made my little world a better place every time I was in their home. God bless Christina and Colin, Susan and Tammy. My friends.

Kenny Hutcheson

January 11, 2021

There is our Heavenly Father's Ambassador ever present to all of us who welcome and embrace Him. Yea, even The Holy Ghost art with thee and all thy loved one's Colin at this time of your dear mother's re-assignment to Paradise. Know that all is well with her of a surety as she re-enters His presence and loved ones and dear friends she has longed to see yet again! And, so it will be for all the rest of us in His good time when we have completed all that He sent us to this Earth that He created for us all to come to for a short season to gain a temporary temporal body to house our "spirit". May you all take His comforter to be with and watch over you in all your comings and goings and have His peace to be with and among you all, in the name of Jesus Christ , amen........Kenny Hutcheson