Sheila Margaret Cunningham

October 8, 1927May 13, 2020

With sadness we announce the peaceful death of Sheila Margaret Reesor Cunningham on Tuesday, May 13, 2020 in Calgary, Alberta at the age of 92 years. Born in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, on October 8, 1927, Sheila always loved the prairies with their constant breezes and big sky.

Daughter of Amy Irene Lawrence Reesor and Harry Clifton Reesor, Sheila valued education, inquiry and harmony. While living in Saskatoon she earned her BA in English at the University of Saskatchewan in 1949 and worked in library science. She married the love of her life, John (Jack) Cunningham in 1951, a love affair that continued until his recent death in January of this year. The couple moved to Ontario in 1955, spending most of the next 42 years in Toronto. After Jack’s retirement in 1997, the couple lived in Ottawa and then Camrose, where her dancing at neighborhood weekly fiddle and guitar jam sessions brought joy to all. Sheila was a devoted and truly selfless mother of five children, almost “unflappable” through all those teenage years! Her kindness, evident to all who met her, overlay an enduring strength that always gave, and never took. She faced joys and adversities alike head-on with calmness, and only saw the best in others. Sheila was up for whatever life sent her way, and with her husband in 1964 she took their young family to live in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) for a year, at a time when such family world adventures were almost unheard of. For many of their last 30 years, she and her husband Jack traveled the world for his career, acknowledged as the "first couple of medical physics”. Particularly as her children left the nest, Sheila dove deeply into genealogy, an interest that arose from her Mennonite Reesor ancestry. Prior to the internet, she identified Jack’s birth parents (he was adopted), a feat of characteristic quiet persistence. In her later years she devoted her considerable skills to the genealogy of her mother’s Lawrence family, culminating in “Some Ancestors and Descendants of John Laurence/Lawrence and Margaret May Sutherland”, (2007). Her family loved her dearly, and her death leaves a deep hole in all our hearts. She was the sweetest of ladies, and we will always miss her. We will think of her often when we feel the prairie winds or hear the blowing grasses or see the banks of a river valley which reminded her so much of her early days in Saskatoon. Sheila leaves behind her children Joan (Michael Wargovich), Ian (Grace Parraga), Susan (Paul Koeller), Karen (Ken Jones) and Clifton; grandchildren Andy, Calvin and Daryl Flynn; Jason and Jordan Koeller; Pierre Layden and Robin Cunningham; Lucy and Maggie Cunningham; Joseph and Michael Wargovich and Mary Wargovich Shaw; great-grandchildren Jayden, Farley and Ruby; brother and sister-in-law Bayard and Sue Reesor; niece Lynn Reesor and nephews Brian (Jackie) and Glen (Jennifer) Reesor; and many, many other dear family and friends. She was pre-deceased recently by her husband John “Jack” Robert Cunningham, son-in-law Darcy Flynn, and infant sister Elizabeth “Betty”.

If friends so desire, memorial donations in honour of Sheila’s life and her love and concern for others may be made directly to Foothills Country Hospice (Box 274, Okotoks AB, T1S 1A5;

At this difficult time of the coronavirus, the family is delaying a celebration of her life.


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


Sheila Margaret Cunningham

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Jen Procknow

May 19, 2020

I never officially met Sheila Cunningham but I did see her husband and her together in an optometrist office. Sheila had patch on her eye and wasn't able to read the " fun news" in the local paper and Jack was reading them to her. They would laugh out loud together it was obvious this couple was together for a long time and very happy together. They warmed my heart.
I only recognized them because of how my friend Karen their daughter had described them. She had clearly described them exactly as they were. I called her afterwards and it was indeed her parents.
My deepest sympathies to your family for the loss you have had in losing your parents this year. My hopes are you find peace in how much they loved each other and all of your fond memories that you have of them.


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