May 20, 1942 – June 30, 2019
Christ be beside me, Christ be before me, Christ be behind me, King of my heart. Christ be within me, Christ be below me, Christ be above me, never to part. Christ on my right hand, Christ on my left hand, Christ all around me, shield in the strife. Christ in my sleeping, Christ in my sitting, Christ in my rising, light of my heart.
Eileen Alice Cunningham, treasured mother, sister, teacher, and friend passed away on June 30, 2019. Eileen, the beloved daughter of deceased parents Annie and Michael Ward of Leitrim and Roscommon, Ireland, was born May 20, 1942, in Manhattan. The incredibly loving and incredibly loved mother of three is survived by her children John Michael, Anne Marie, and Eileen Mary; Anne’s husband David Pugh; and her adored grandchildren Seamus Martin and Fiona Anne Pugh. Eileen was a loving sister to Eleanor Acer and Mary Crouch; and to her brother-in-law, Woody Crouch. Her abiding love for family was reflected in her close relationships with her cherished cousins, nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, godchildren, and friends.
Eileen, a gifted teacher with a true calling, dedicated over thirty years to the New York City Board of Education. She graduated from St. John’s University with a degree in Elementary Education, and began her career in the Bronx, instructing the City’s youngest students. By the time she concluded her teaching career, she was instructing the next generation of teachers with her patented combination of innovation, understanding, and encouragement. She led by example, pioneering a ‘buddy program’ between local junior high and elementary students, and demonstrating teaching techniques drawn from her long experience. She worked true magic, amazing other teachers with her ability to calm an unruly lunchroom filled with hundreds of students without once raising her voice or losing sight of her connection with each individual child. Eileen was also a proud union representative for her elementary school, lobbying locally and nationally for better teaching conditions and greater support and respect for all teachers.
Dedication to community and parish life was important to Eileen. She held numerous executive positions in the Scarsdale Neighborhood Association. She also spent more than a decade teaching CCD at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Scarsdale, New York.
Eileen spent her life curious about the world and adventurous in her travels. She imparted her love of history, art, and music to her children, grandchildren, family, and friends. She had a life-long love for the Metropolitan Museum, where she spent happy hours absorbing art, ancient to modern. She had a deep love for theater, especially enjoying Shakespeare in the Park, and the George Bernard Shaw Festival in Canada. She was also a supporter of The Irish Repertory Theater in New York.
Eileen spent some of her happiest moments under an umbrella on a Cape Cod beach, sun hat on and mystery novel in hand, surrounded by her family. This is the way they will remember her.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that you make a donation in Eileen's memory to the Sturge-Weber Foundation. Checks may be mailed to 12345 Jones Road Suite 125 Houston, TX 77070, or use the hyperlink below.
- Sturge-Weber Foundation
- Visitation Wednesday, July 3, 2019
- Visitation Thursday, July 4, 2019
- Funeral Mass Friday, July 5, 2019
- Graveside Service Friday, July 5, 2019
July 5, 2019
Those we love don’t go away
They walk beside us every day
Unseen, unheard, but always near
Still loved, still missed and very dear.
Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
Love leaves a memory no one can steal.
Forever in our hearts Eileen.
Mary Ann Girman
July 4, 2019
Eileen, you were the sweetest, most welcoming person I ever met and it was my pleasure to have known you and to have shared many occasions with you.
You will be sorely missed, but will be remembered for your kind spirit and love of family. I’m so very happy you were at Frank’s party in May where you got to see so many of your family.
Rest In Peace!!!