John Cunnington, husband, father,
Poppa (grandpa), great-grandpa, brother;
uncle and friend went to be with his Beautiful
Savior very early in the morning on June 10, 2011. He was 80 years old.
John Alvin Cunnington was born on
March 1, 1931 to John Henry and Mollie
Harding Cunnington in Walla Walla. He
was the youngest of seven children. John
attended Jefferson Grade School and Walla
Walla High School, graduating in 1949.
Music was always an important part of
John's life and while in school, he participated
in choir and orchestra and played
violin with the Walla Walla Symphony. He also played the organ and
piano. Music was a joy to John throughout his life and provided special
comfort during the last few years.
While in high school, John worked for local movie theaters. In 1950 he
enlisted in the US Navy. He served aboard a submarine tender the USS
Sperry as a plank holder. He enjoyed many reunions with his shipmates
all over the country in his later years. In 1954 after being honorably
discharged from the Navy, John returned to Walla Walla and began a 36
year career with the US Army Corps of Engineers. He began his career
working in the mail room and retired as Chief of Personnel for the Walla
Walla District. John met his "Annie" Beverly Ann Burton while working
at the Corps of Engineers and they were married October 21, 1956. John
and Bev were blessed with two children Karen Ann and John Edward.
John's family and extended family were very important to him. For many
years, his brothers and sisters and their families would gather to camp on
the Tucannon River over Memorial Day weekend to remember his parents
and other family members and to enjoy fellowship, lots of games (pinochle
and horseshoes were favorites), good food, plenty of fishing, and lots of
stories and memories around the campfire. John was very proud of his
heritage. His mother's family were Germans from Russia who came to the
United States in 1899. His ancestors on his father's side were some of the
first settlers in the Salt Lake Valley in Utah. Throughout his life, John was
active in many community organizations and Christ Lutheran Church. He
was president of Pacific Little League, campaign chairman for United Way,
and was chairman of the City of Walla Walla Civil Service Commission
for several years. He was active in Rotary and the Elks Club. John directed
the choir at Christ Lutheran for 17 years and was involved in many other
church activities. His great grandmother and his grandparents were founding
members of Christ Lutheran.
John is survived by his wife Beverly at their home; his daughter and
son-in law Karen and Pat Neal of Walla Walla; his son and daughter-inlaw
Ed and Tori Cunnington of Yakima; grandsons Michael and Jacob
Neal of Walla Walla; granddaughter Melissa Blum and husband Aaron
of Ellensburg, twin granddaughters Amanda and Mollie Cunnington of
Yakima, and great grandson Lucius "Louie" Neal of Indianapolis, IN. He
is also survived by two sisters Dolores (Bob) Connery of Olympia and
Roberta Moss of Salinas, CA and sister-in-law Frances Cunnington of
Pullman, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his
parents, brothers Kenneth and Bud Cunnington, sisters Irene Waas and
A memorial service celebrating John's life will be on Friday, June 17,
2011 at 1:30pm at Christ Lutheran Church, 1420 S 2nd Ave, Walla Walla.
Memorial contributions in John's name may be made to Christ Lutheran
Church or Walla Walla Community Hospice in care of Herring
Groseclose Funeral Home, 315 W Alder St, Walla Walla, WA 99362.