Jerry Wayne Cunningham, age 75, of the Piper area in Kansas City, Kansas passed away on Thursday, March 2nd, 2023 at his home while surrounded by his loving family. On Wednesday, March 8th the visitation will be from 10 am to Noon with the Funeral Service beginning at Noon, both at the Maywood Community Church. Burial will follow in the Maywood Cemetery. Memorial Contributions can be made to the Maywood Community Church or to Cancer Action KC.
Jerry was born on July 26, 1947, in Mount Vernon, Illinois. He grew up in Mt. Vernon and later the Maryland Heights area of St. Louis, MO., graduating from Maryland Heights High School. Jerry worked Construction in the St. Louis and Theodosia, Missouri areas before coming to Kansas City. After briefly working in Construction in Kansas City, he began working as a Millwright at the Grain Elevator in the Fairfax District of Kansas City, KS, he worked there for many years retiring in 2015. Jerry married Joyce Miller on March 15, 1980, and together they made their home in Edwardsville and later Piper.
Over the years Jerry was involved in many activities. While his children were growing up, he dedicated most of his time to the Wyandotte County 4-H program. He was one of the founding leaders of the 4-H Shooting Sports program in the county. He even took a team to Nationals in Atlanta. He helped his children, along with many others, in the 4-H horse and sheep programs. He drove a tractor for the Haunted Hayride every year. Jerry was also involved with his church. He served as a trustee for many years, always willing to keep the church in working order. He chaperoned ski trips as well with the youth.
Jerry loved the lake. He took his family to Bull Shoals every summer for many years to camp. He enjoyed jet skiing, boating, and tubing. He enjoyed Colorado as well, and even shared a trip with some of his grandchildren in 2019.
Chasing after his grandchildren was his favorite activity. Whether he was teaching them to ride horses, giving ‘buckin bull’ rides, playing ball in the front, or attending events, he was doing it with joy in his heart. He was one of the kids when he was with them. He built them the best tree house, swing set, and sandbox. They asked, he provided. He would even do the thing he loathed most, for them, fish.
Jerry loved the outdoors. He could be found tinkering in his barn, gardening, creating new flower beds, and finding old trees that needed to be cut by the creek. He’d drop what he was doing to help others around their homes as well. He also loved hunting. He could easily be found in the woods, or on the lake, in his blazing orange coveralls or swim trunks and tank top. He was a beacon for all.
For the last 6 and a half years he battled colon cancer. Jerry showed everyone around him what it meant to be strong. He was determined not to let it take over his life, and he did just that. He remained active throughout his battle, never letting it dictate him. He remains an inspiration to everyone around him. Even in his final weeks, he remained one of the strongest people you have ever met. He leaves behind a legacy of faith, love, strength, determination, and grit.
Jerry was preceded in death by his father Harold Cunningham, mother and step-father Dottie & Francis “Clark” Boyd, son Scott Thomas, grandsons William & Hudson Cunningham, his beloved “Ma & PA” Howard & Virginia Miller.
Survivors include his wife Joyce Cunningham of the home, Children: Tracy Whalen of St. Joseph, MO., Donnie Cunningham and wife Karen of Thornfield, MO., Chris Cunningham and wife Sara of Ottawa, KS., Andrea Strick and husband Mike of Tonganoxie, KS. Siblings: Kris Wood and husband Elton of Onley, IL., Wilton Boyd and wife Nancy, Lonnie Boyd and wife Barbara all of St. Louis, Joe Boyd and wife Kim of Idaho. Grandchildren: Corey Chisam and wife Rachael, Casey Chisam, Sara Jo Suter and husband Shane, Bailey Cunningham, Garrett Cunningham, Mackenzie, Carson and Lizzie Cunningham, Milam, Malachi, and Madilynn Strick. Great-grandchildren Shelby and Johnathan Chisam, Corbin, Ellis, and Nolan Suter.
The family would like to thank Faith Home Health and Hospice, especially MaryBeth and Mensi, for the wonderful care they provided Jerry the last 2 months.