Walter H. Cunningham
DIXFIELD -- Walter H. Cunningham, 80, of 28 Brackett St., passed away on October 4, 2011 after a short bout with cancer.
Walter was born in Staten Island, NY on June 10, 1931, son of Mary Tocher and Sylvan Cunningham. He attended elementary school there and in 1939 the family moved to Maine. He attended schools in Dixfield and graduated from Dixfield High School in the class of 1951.
Upon graduation, Walter worked at Stowell-McGregor in Dixfield and then Oxford Paper Company in Rumford until 1952, at which time he joined the Navy to serve his country.
After leaving the Navy, he attended Southern Maine Technical School and worked as an auto mechanic for four years. He then joined Oxford Paper Company in Rumford and worked there in several positions until retiring from Boise Cascade in 1993.
In 2000, Walt joined the staff at SAD 21 where he enjoyed working as a custodian there as it became RSU 10. He resigned from there at the end of the school year due to his illness.
He was married in 1953 to Ann Fairbanks, who passed away in 1969. In 1972 he married Rita Jamison Schmitt, who survives. They celebrated 39 years of marriage in July. They traveled with friends to many places in the United States and Europe.
Walter was a communicant of Dixfield Congregational Church, where he sang in the choir for many years. Walter loved music, especially jazz, and was a member of the Four Freshman Society. He was an avid sports fan; especially of the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins. He also loved golfing and was a member of the Oakdale Country Club where he was proud to have hit a hole in one. He fulfilled a life-long dream of playing golf at “the home of golf” in St. Andrews, Scotland.
He was a 50-plus year member of King Hiram Lodge #57 and belonged to the Dixfield Alumni Society. He loved spending time with friends and family, especially his grandchildren.
He is survived by daughters, Leslie Denton and Kelly Marais of Lewiston; step-daughter, Kim Tierney of Cumberland; step-daughter and son-in-law, Heidi and Mark Gwinn of Cumberland; step-son and daughter-in-law, Klaus and Sue Schmitt of Hill, NH; grandchildren, Chelsea and Kara Gwinn of Cumberland, Trevor and Luke Tierney and their father, Tim, of North Yarmouth; and a brother, William of Peru.
Mr. Cunningham was predeceased by his parents; brother-in-law, Raymond Chmiel; and brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Albert and Mildred Jamison.
The family wishes to thank the Rumford Hospital Oncology Department and Androscoggin Home Health & Hospice for their care and comfort during this difficult time.