Udell Oliver Cunningham, 94, passed away peacefully at the Timbers Skilled Nursing facility in Edmond, Oklahoma on Sunday, April 19, 2020.
Udell was born in Tulia, Texas on May 3, 1925 and grew up in the Texas panhandle towns of Tulia and Lockney. He graduated from Lockney High School in 1942.
He served in the U. S. Naval Construction Force, better known as the Seabees, during World War II, spending most of the war on Attu Island as a pipe installer and in the Philippines as a rigger on a mobile crane.
He met Doris Thurman at the post office in Lockney where he worked; he fixed the lock on her post office box. They married on October 27, 1950, in Clovis, New Mexico.
They shared many wonderful years together, living in Texas before Udell served in the U. S. Air Force, primarily working in photography labs. He retired with the rank of Master Sergeant in 1975. The Cunninghams lived in Enid, Oklahoma; Sherman, Texas, Toul-Rosières, France, Wiesbaden, Germany, and Kaiserslautern, Germany; finally settling in Aurora, Colorado.
Udell was a loving father, grandfather, uncle, and friend to many.
Udell loved photography and enjoyed documenting family events with his camera. He also enjoyed movies and music, amassing a huge collection of both DVDs and CDs. He was a gifted storyteller and gardener who spent many happy hours tending his beautiful garden at his Aurora, Colorado home.
Udell will be interred at Fort Logan National Cemetery. Due to the Coronavirus restrictions, a celebration of Udell’s life will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Honor Flight Network at honorflight.org to enable more veterans to visit Washington, DC as he was able to do in 2012.
His loving wife of 66 years, Doris (Thurman) Cunningham, predeceased him November 8, 2016, as did his parents, Herman Cunningham and Annie (Jennings) Cunningham, his brother, Alvin Cunningham, and his sister, Flois (Cunningham) Reed Bischel.
He is survived by three children, Patti (Cunningham) Swier of Huntsville, Alabama, Wayne Cunningham of Aurora, Colorado, and Terri (Cunningham) Findley of Edmond, Oklahoma and his daughters’ spouses, Thomas Swier and Michael Findley; as well as six grandchildren, Dana (Swier) Huff of Worcester, Massachusetts, Lara (Swier) Fondulis of Cibolo, Texas, Matthew Findley of Villa Rica, Georgia, Martin Cunningham of Great Falls, Montana, Rebecca (Findley) Robison of Richmond, Texas and Amy (Findley) Hardin of Bellville, Texas; 15 great-grandchildren; his sisters, Nelda Gene (Cunningham) Morris and Carolyn Cunningham of Lockney, Texas and numerous family and friends.
Arrangements were under the direction of Baggerley Funeral Home in Edmond, Oklahoma.