March 16, 1931 - September 7, 2019
Born in Ute, Iowa
Resided in Salinas, California
Bill was born March 16, 1931, in Ute, Iowa to Dorothy L. (Cole) Cunningham and Raymond Roderick Cunningham. He moved to Salinas with his family in 1941, where he lived all of his life. He worked in the Salinas pipe yards as a young man while attending Salinas High School. Near the end of WWII, Bill tried to enlist in the armed services, but as he was under age, he was told sorry son, you are too young and you need to go home and grow up. Bill eventually enlisted in the Army in 1950, serving 20 years until his retirement out of Fort Ord, in 1970. His military service took him overseas to Japan, Germany, Korea, and Vietnam, where he served his country proudly. He was decorated with the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, The Bronze Star Medal, Aircraft Crewman Badge and Army Commendation Medal, among others.
While stationed overseas in Germany, Bill met the love of his life and wife of 64 years, Helga Cecilia (Rodens) Cunningham. Together Bill and Helga were blessed with seven children, William (Bill), Jr.(Gail) Alex, Richard, Daniel(Ann), Cecilia Anderson(Jim), Patricia Salao(Sam) and Tina Gines(Brian). They were blessed further with 17 Grandchildren, Russell and Brett Gines, Casandra, Samantha, Kyle, Jo Beth and Thomas Salao, Christina(Joe) Knotts and Daniel McMillin, Brad(Vanessa) Anderson and Jessica(Michael) Suarez, Amy(Rick) Mayhew, Sara(Ruben) Sanchez, Chad Cunningham, Antonia, Micheal and Joe(Susie) Cunningham, 16 Great Grandchildren, and 3 Great, Great Grandchildren to date and still counting. Bill was preceded in death by his mother, father, and nine of his siblings. He is survived by his sister Judith (Judy) Cunningham.
After retiring from the Army, Bill worked for a few local garages as a senior mechanic before opening his own shop (BBC Auto Service), where he worked with his son’s Bill, Jr., and Danny, until his second retirement in 1986.
Bill loved to fish and camp and spent countless weekends out at Moss Landing surf fishing as well as week-long camping trips to San Antonio Lake, with his family and friends having a wonderful time.
Bill was an avid member of Alcoholics Anonymous and was in his 28th year of sobriety. He enjoyed his Friday night men’s group, the Brown Bag for lunch meetings, and Sunday morning meeting’s at the Sun Street Center. He formed some very strong and lasting relationships with the people he met in AA and he loved to be a part of their journey as well as have them be a part of his. Special thanks to all of you who came to see him over the years, took him to lunch meetings, and came to the house for a meeting, when he couldn’t come to you; you all held a special place in his heart and ours.
There will be a Rosary gathering at Struve and Laporte Chapel, 41 W. San Luis Street, Salinas, CA. 93901 at 7:00pm on October 10, 2019.
Funeral Mass services will be at 9:30am on October 11, 2019, at Sacred Heart Church, 22 Stone Street, Salinas, CA. 93901 followed by Internment with full military honors, at theCalifornia Central Coast Veterans Cemetary on the former Fort Ord, at 2pm.
Salinas, California 93901
Salinas, CA US 93901
Seaside, CA 93955