Cunningham, devoted husband to Velma for 54 years, passed away on Tuesday, July 29, 2014, in Lakeside after a courageous battle with cancer. Celebrations of his life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 2, at Our Lady of Assumption Church, 3048 Arizona 277 in Heber-Overgaard, and at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 9, at Assumption Church, 221 E. Eighth St. in Florence.
Ed was born on Aug. 23, 1933, at Olberg, Ariz., on the Pima Indian Reservation.
Growing up in the Coolidge-Florence area, he graduated from Florence High School and went on to receive his B.S. degree in agronomy at Arizona State University. He was a Korean War veteran.
In his youth he spent much time on his parents’ and uncles’ farms, and many years as an active 4-H and FFA member made for an easy transition into a career in agriculture. He owned and operated farms in Valley Farms and Florence, as well as the Whitlow Ranch east of Florence.
Later Ed transitioned entirely to ranching on the Pueblo Creek Ranch in Reserve, N.M. His agricultural career expanded internationally when he took a management position on a large farm in Buraydah, Saudi Arabia, until retiring. During his time in Saudi Arabia and after retirement, he and Velma enjoyed world travel.
Ed was a member of the Pinal Sherriff’s Posse, Farm Bureau, 4-H as a leader and Arizona Cattle Growers Association. He was a member of the Soil Conservation Service Board, including serving as president and state representative to Washington, D.C. He was a member and president of Kenilworth School Board.
In later years he enjoyed spending summers in Heber-Overgaard and winters in Yuma.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert (1980) and Elsie Faul (1990) Cunningham; and a daughter, Carol Cunningham (1986).
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his daughter, Dianna (Randy) Faidley of Kapaa, Hawaii; his son, Dan of Grants, N.M.; four grandchildren, David, Randi Marie, Justin and Danielle Faidley; and his sister, Patricia Dixon, and brother-in-law, Myron Smith of Coolidge.
Memorial contributions may be made to Arizona 4-H Youth Foundation, c/o Pinal County 4-H, Attn: Kim Gressley, 820 E Cottonwood Lane, Bldg. C, Casa Grande, Ariz. 85122.
Silver Creek Mortuary of Taylor was in charge of the arrangements.