OBITUARY

V. Richard Cunningham

January 21, 1928June 23, 2019

Born January 21, 1928 to Margaret Reilly and Vincent Richard Cunningham, Sr. in Los Angeles. "Dick" Cunningham was the Grandson of the late Thomas Joseph Cunningham, founder of Cunningham and O'Connor Mortuaries in 1898. Dick was second child of three, Mary Margaret Myer his older sister, and Thomas J. Cunningham his younger brother. He grew up in Los Angeles belonging to St. Gregory Nazianzen Catholic Parish where he attended Elementary School. Dick followed in his father's footsteps becoming a proud Cub at Loyola High School and graduated to become a Lion at Loyola University where he obtained a degree in Engineering. Dick joined the United States Navy in 1945 for two years, then again in mid 1950 for another two years. In 1948 he went to the Redwood Forests in Klamath, California to work as a lumberjack for what he called the best years of his life. He joined his Grandfather's business, Cunningham & O'Connor, in early 1950, only to leave two months later for a second tour in the Navy. He returned to Cunningham & O’Connor in 1952, where he worked until 2017. In 1953, Dick met the love of his life Helen Louise Cibula, while working at a rosary. They married in 1956 and had four children. From the beginning, the founders of Cunningham & O'Connor set the bar high, Dick chose to uphold their standard. He was very devoted to his craft and took great pride in being an exemplary funeral director. Dealing with people in grief is challenging as they are not themselves, but Dick understood this and loved helping people navigate the process with the utmost compassion, patience and kindness. He was one of the best in the business. Everyone in the industry knew and respected Dick and strived to emulate his way of doing things. He was always happy to share his trade advice. Dick was a devoted member of The Serra Club of Los Angeles, The Order of Malta, and The Knights of Columbus 2406. Dick thoroughly enjoyed his years of bowling with the Knights of Columbus and golfing with his friends all over the southland and as a member of The Wilshire Country Club. He was a Beach Boy at The Jonathan Club in the early 1940's and later became a member in 1965. He enjoyed all the social activities, relationships and his association with The Jonathan Club for over 50 years. Dick involved himself in numerous charities always lending a helping hand or organizing events and whatever needed to be done. Helping out was an instinct for Dick, he loved giving and doing for people and for organizations. On June 23, 2019, at the age of 91, Dick made his transition into Heaven to be with The Lord, his wife, family and friends. He is survived by his children: Mary Ellen, Thomas Joseph, Janet Marie, and Catherine Marie (Jim) Hamm and his four grandchildren: Megan, Kevin, Justin and Sarah Hamm. Dick was quite a force - a true, one-of-a-kind with a big personality and a heart of gold. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00am on Tuesday, July 2, 2019 at Cathedral Chapel of St. Vibiana Catholic Church, 923 S. La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles 90036. Please join us immediately afterward for a Celebration of Life at The Wilshire Country Club, 301 N. Rossmore Avenue, Los Angeles, 90004. In lieu of flowers, please donate to a charity of your choice in his name. Arrangements by Gates Kingsley and Gates Smith Salsbury in Culver City (310) 837-7121

Please copy and paste the following link into your browser to view Dick's memorial slideshow https://youtu.be/FIRJQ2NR8dA

Services

  • Funeral Service Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Memories

V. Richard Cunningham

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Ruth Caspary

July 5, 2019

If only you knew the joy I felt as a grade schooler and high schooler because of Mr. Cunningham! Because he owned the mortuary he would bring us a real coffin on Halloween to our house on Orange drive-in Los Angeles. We were one of the 1st families doing Halloween big in 1978 and Mr. Cunningham's donation made such a huge impression on all the kids and families coming through the block. Then again in high school because I was such a rebel to the nuns (you can look up my family history, lol), Mr. Cunningham finally agreed to pick up the Notre Dame girls carpool in his Hearse. I begged him to go slow through the circle when we arrived and I proceeded to bolt open the rear station wagon door and fall and roll on the ground. 😁😀😄 It made a real statement... I still remember that day because it was too much fun for my mischievous personality, all because of Mr. Cunningham playing along. He had that sense of humor - he had to have - because his business was a very somber one but he brought people joy. Rest in peace and join Miss Helen now. Love to you Cathy and all your family. Fond memories of days gone by...❤❤❤

Rudy Urrea

July 3, 2019

Mr. C, I learned a lot from you and met many fine people when you joined Pierce Brothers back in the early 80's. It was a pleasure working with you on many funeral services, you will never be forgotten. My prayers go out to the family.

Deacon Thomas E Brandlin

July 2, 2019

I've known Dick all my life. First, as a youngster in Cathedral Chapel Parish and then as the chaplain of the Serra Club of Los Angeles. Anything we asked Dick to do he did with aplomb and very effectively. On a number of occasions when another club in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles was having trouble putting together the annual Serra golf tournament Dick stepped forward and made the event a success.
As well, he told me years ago that if someone needed to talk to a funeral director to call him as late as 11:00 p.m. any night - and I did on many occasions. Some of the families I sent him didn't have any money and he somehow managed to take care of them.
I will miss trading jokes with him, his kindness, and warm friendship. My sincerest condolences to his family. You will be in my prayers and thoughts, as your Dad and Mom are.

Diane & Page Jenkins

July 2, 2019

We will cherish the times that we spent with Mr. Cunningham. A very kind person, we will miss his happy and positive attitude, and zest for life.

Frank del Castillo

July 2, 2019

Mr. Cunningham was a fun, welcoming man. As a student at Cathedral Chapel, I got to know Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham as I became friends with their daughter, Cathy. I was always impressed with Mr. Cunningham's longevity, his involvement with Cathedral Chapel, and how he made me feel like family! I remember in the fall of 1980 he took some of the Chapel girls' volleyball team to Pius the 10th HS in Downey in a limo he used for his mortuary. I went along and sat in the front. God bless Mr. C!

Bernie Palomino

July 2, 2019

Mr. “C” you will be missed. You were one of a kind. So fortunate to have known you.

Todd Beckley

July 1, 2019

I began my career in the funeral business in 1965 at Utter-McKinley Mortuary on Vermont Avenue. I met Mr. Cunningham a few years later and was impressed with his demeanor and his desire to make a difficult time a bit easier for the family he was serving.

Over the years we kept in contact and when I had a need for advice, I didn't hesitate to call and he was always so very accommodating.

To the entire Cunningham family, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Todd Beckley

John McIntrye Bevan

July 1, 2019

A heartfelt message to Dick and his loved ones from a 86 year close family friend, John McIntyre Bevan.

MY FRIEND
A friend is one who takes your hand and talks a speech you understand; He's partly kindness, partly mirth, and faith unfaltering in your worth; He's first to cheer you on success and last to leave you in distress; A friend is constant, honest, true - in short dear friend he's just like you !
by Edgar A. Guest
Jesus satisfies - Faith is the Victor

Esther Katherine Donahoe

June 30, 2019

Sorry to hear about Dick's passing. I was a classmate of Dick's younger brother, Tommy. We both graduated eighth grade at Cathedral Chapel Elementary School. My parents and I attended Cathedral Chapel Church until 1949. - - Katherine Donahoe Robles (Santa Barbara, CA)

Liz Landeros

June 29, 2019

Working with Mr. Cunningham at 720 was a pleasure. Those days are gone now, but the memories and the staff at 720 will never be forgotten.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY