Obituary of Ada Cunningham
Ada Eileen Cunningham, 95, died at 11:11 a.m. on Saturday, February 4,2017 at Passavant
Area Hospital in Jacksonville, Illinois.
Born March 17, 1921 on the Witaschek Farm in Eldred, Illinois, she was the daughter of the late Charles Henry and Beatrice Borman Smith. Growing up on a livestock-grain farm in the Illinois River Valley, she attended North Lincoln School near her parent's farm on the bluff road south of Eldred. Upon completion of elementary school, she studied three years at Eldred High School and completed her high school education at Carrollton High School in Carrollton, Illinois in 1938. After finishing
high school, she spent two years on the Smith farm and studied music with Nita Ford in Carrollton. She then entered Shurtleff College in Alton, Illinois as a vocal music major. As World War II developed she transferred to pre-nursing. She pursued her nursing education at Cornell University School of Nursing, New York City through the U.S. Cadet Nurse program and in 1946 graduated from nursing school and completed her Bachelor's degree at Shurtleff College. She later earned a Master of
Science in Education from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Her early professional life in St. Louis, Missouri was in public health. She helped start the St. Louis Chapter, American Red Cross Bloodmobile Service. She was Director of Nursing Services, St. Louis Chapter American Red Cross until her marriage.
On June 2, 1951, she married Joseph Lewis Cunningham at the Eldred Baptist Church. The
Rev. Dr. William McCorkle of Westminster Presbyterian Church in St. Louis officiated. Upon her marriage she became the mother to Joe and his deceased wife Marjory May Smith Cunningham's children, Jo Ann, Eric Michael, and Jane Smith. After the birth of Joe and Eileen's children, Daniel Keith, Kay Eileen, and Arthur Joseph, they bought Brookline Farm near Carrollton in 1955, moved to the farm, welcomed the birth of son John Charles in 1961, and added farm land through the years. While the children were young, she returned to work and held positions in hospital nursing, teaching, community programs, and as a staff nurse at Blessing Hospice in Greene County, Illinois, retiring in 2000.
Eileen's avid reading sparked a life long interest in history and provided the information to help her write nine books on history of the Lower Illinois River Valley, Carrollton, and Greene County. In addition to her historical works, she had publications in professional journals such as the American
Holistic Nurses Association Journal.
She was a member of First Baptist Church, Carrollton, the Greene County Historical and
Genealogical Society, founding member of the American Holistic Nurses Association, Cornell
University Alumni Association, Apple Creek Prairie Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution through Robert Clendenen of Virginia, her maternal patriot, and the Illinois Valley Cultural Heritage Association.
Surviving are six children, Jo Ann Wangelin (Larry) of Godfrey, Illinois, Dr. Eric Cunningham of Carrollton, Jane Mooberry (Brian) of Elgin, Illinois, Daniel Cunningham (Debra) of Carrollton, Kay Ogden (Steve) of Carrollton, and Arthur Cunningham (Mary) of Carrollton. Also surviving are 12 grandchildren, Stephen Wangelin (Lisa) of Lynn Haven, Florida, Lee Wangelin of Godfrey, Sarah Domin of Elgin, Laura Keating (Pat) of Elgin, Blake Cunningham (Kendra) of Ballwin, Missouri, Jennifer Shaw (Brock) of Carrollton, Luther Cunningham (Monica) of Yorkville, Illinois, Hannah Reed
(Joe) of Athens, Illinois, Jessica Ogden of Springfield, Illinois, Kyle Ogden (Sarah) of Hartford, Illinois, Michael Osterman of Kampsville, Illinois, and Marty Osterman (Chrissy) of Carrollton. Also surviving are 19 great grandchildren, Brittany and Emma Wangelin, Madison and Cali Keating, Bode, Henry, and Ellie Cunningham, Avery, Allison, Aubree, and Andrea Shaw, John and Blaise Cunningham, Louden and Mila Reed, Blair Ogden, and Steven, Kaitlynn, and Carter Osterman. Also surviving are two great-great grandchildren, Kinley and Paisley Osterman.
In addition to her parents, husband, and son John Charles, those who predeceased her were two brothers, Charles Luther Smith and Donald Smith, and four sisters, Emma Janette Brannan, Norma Newton, Doris Shackelford, and Marjory Cunningham.
A memorial visitation will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, February 11, 2017 at the First Baptist Church in Carrollton. A memorial service will follow at 11:30 a.m. The Reverend Al Heger will officiate. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First Baptist Church.
Mrs. Cunningham donated her body to the Memory and Aging Program and the Washington
University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Online condolences may be shared online at www.airsman-hires.com. Airsman-Hires Funeral
Home in Carrollton is handling local arrangements.
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