Obituary: Alice Cunningham, 86, of Hart

June 13, 2023

Alice Cunningham

Obituary: Alice Cunningham, 86, of Hart

Alice Marie Cunningham, 86, of Hart, passed away Saturday, June 10, 2023. She was born June 26, 1936, in Suttons Bay, the daughter of Ferdinand and Marion (Wahl) Eckerle.

Alice attended St. Michael’s Catholic Elementary and graduated from Suttons Bay High School in 1954. She attended Central Michigan University and earned a bachelor’s of arts degree in home economics and education in 1958. She also attended the University of Wyoming in 1967. She was employed as a home economics teacher for 35 years, starting for Hart High School in 1958 and retiring in 1993.

Alice was very involved in the local school system, including junior class advisor, responsible for the Junior/Senior Banquet, Junior/Senior Prom, Sweethearts Ball, homecoming floats, Future Homemakers of America( FHA) advisor, sponsored FHA state president, sports program support, and ticket taker for football and basketball games. She was also involved with the Michigan Education Association, serving as president of the Hart Education Association for several years, chief negotiator, a bargaining team member with several multi-year contracts, and was the chairperson of Michigan Education Association (MEA) retired 13-B which serves Oceana, Mason, and Manistee counties. She was a lifetime member of the MEA and the National Education Association, and she attended the MEA Representative Assembly as a retired member and the NEA convention as a delegate numerous times.

Alice received many awards, such as MEA Outstanding Education Leadership Award 1993, Hart High School Athletic Department Award for Dedicated Service 1975, Hart High School Student Body Recognition Award upon retirement 1993, the Hart Education Association Recognition Award for 35 years of service, and the Michigan Education Association Recognition Award for 35 years of service.

For 34 years, her home economics classroom was right next to her husband’s history classroom in Hart High School.

Alice was also active in the local Hart community, serving as assistant voter clerk responsible for voter registration rolls, and was head of poll workers responsible for all Hart City elections for over 10 years. She was also a member of St. Gregory’s Catholic Church since September of 1958, and was head of the funeral luncheon committee for many years.

Alice also had many interests, including Christmas and everything that went with it; she would decorate not only her home, but also her classroom at school. She also liked working outdoors with her flowers, especially her many rose bushes, and traveling; her and her husband, Jim, traveled throughout the US, from Miami to San Francisco, Los Angeles to New York City, and many points in between.

On August 21, 1965, she married James “Jim” Cunningham, and he survives her after 57 years of marriage. She is also survived by: her brothers, Albert Eckerle, Jim (Shirley) Eckerle, and Tom Eckerle; sisters-in-law, Donna Eckerle and Mary (Howard) Sand; nieces and nephews, Leisa (Andy) Hankins, Chris (Gretchen) Eckerle, Jeff (Lisa) Eckerle, Brian Eckerle, Kirk Eckerle, Emily (Matt) Howell, Stephanie (Matthew) McFadden, Jeff (Sue) Attwood, Dale Attwood, Laurie (Jeff) Bensen, Sherry (Doug) Teggatz, Julie (Brad) Boyle, and Doug (Janna) Sand; and 31 great nieces and nephews; and 4 great grand nieces and nephews.

Alice was preceded in death by: her parents; brothers, Gerald and Edward; sisters-in-law, Bernadette Eckerle and Margery Attwood; and brother-in-law, Donald Cunningham.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m., Saturday, June 17, 2023, at St. Gregory Catholic Church, 214 South Peach Street, Hart with Fr. Phillip Sliwinski presiding, the family will receive friends one hour prior to Mass, with a luncheon immediately following. Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m., Friday, June 16, 2023, at Beacon Cremation & Funeral Service, King-Hart Chapel, 2370 North 72nd Avenue, Hart with a praying of the Holy Rosary beginning at 7 p.m. Interment will be in Hart Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Oceana County Community Foundation, St. Gregory Catholic Church, or the Crystal Valley Care Fund.

Beacon Cremation & Funeral Service, King-Hart Chapel, is in charge of arrangements.