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Robert E. Cunningham

June 2, 2015
Pine Island Eagle

The Honorable Robert E. Cunningham of St. James City, Florida, born February 12, 1928, passed away May 24, 2015. Born in Caruthersville, Missouri, Judge Cunningham lived a simple life with his Big Mama and Uncle Sam in Arkansas until age 7, when he and his mother ventured north to the booming areas surrounding Detroit, Michigan, in search of new opportunities. At age 16, Bob joined the Michigan State Troops and then onto the Army Air Force. After spending three years at Misawa Air Base, he was discharged from the United States Air Force in 1950. As a proud airmen of the USAF, he used his GI Bill to further his education at Arkansas State University and the University of Missouri, completing his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. But Bob had a higher calling. Scoring in the top 3% on the LSAT, Bob demonstrated an aptitude for the United States Justice System. While working nights at Pontiac Motor Division, he attended Law School at Detroit College of Law where he earned his Juris Doctorate in 1964. For six years, Bob practiced criminal law in Pontiac, Michigan, never losing a case. The Honorable Robert E. Cunningham was elected to the bench at Pontiac's 50th District Court where he served three terms (18 years); serving his third term as Chief Judge. Judge Cunningham retired from the bench in 1987. In 1989, he was appointed Pontiac's City Attorney where he served under Mayor Wallace Holland. But it wasn't all work! Bob was an avid boater and snow-skier, loved riding his motorcycle, and flying his airplane. Retiring in 1991, he and his wife Sandra moved to paradise in St. James City, Florida to enjoy their beloved boat, the Sea Bear. In St. James City, Bob and Sandy started Dockside Real Estate and eventually developed the land next to their home and business into Two Seas Marina. Always ready with his quick wit and the best one-liners, Bob was a story-teller, a joke-teller, a lover of life and beauty, friend to many and a family man. His story was rich with so many chapters, so many new beginnings, so much love and beauty. You've come a long way baby from sharecropping in Arkansas you will be missed every day, by so many. Judge Cunningham is survived by his wife Sandy, his children Laurie Cunningham Fields (Rick), Tom, Todd, and Krissy Morrissey; Grandchildren Noah Fields (Kaysi), Austin, Rachel, Koltin, Brendin, Justin and Ashley; and Great-grandchildren Sierra, Tristan, Steven, and Landon and grand-dog Elvis. Bob's life will be honored in a military service in Michigan later in the Summer 2015. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to our nation's military heroes.

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