Crown Hill National Cemetery, Indianapolis, private service on Monday, the 19th of February
James Lee Cunningham, 79, of Noblesville, Indiana passed away Thursday, January 25, 2024, surrounded by family at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Jim was born on June 19, 1944, in Peru, Indiana to Willard and Youba Cunningham. At 2 years old the family moved from Converse, Indiana to Fort Wayne, where Jim grew up.
He attended New Haven High School, where he excelled in football and track. In high school Jim joined the ROTC program with the ambition of being a Navy pilot. Only his eyesight could keep him from obtaining this goal, but he persevered and became a licensed pilot which allowed him to become a corporate pilot for several companies in the Fort Wayne area, and even to instruct others to achieve their pilot license at Fort Wayne Airways.
He married Barb (Enzor) in 1964 at Grace United Church of Christ and resided in Fort Wayne. He and Barb were always active in their church. He was called into active duty in Vietnam from September 1967 through December 1968, during the infamous TET Offensive. Jim served in Military Intelligence and rarely talked about his tour in Vietnam.
Before his tour in Vietnam, he nearly completed a degree in aeronautical engineering at Indiana Institute of Technology. After returning home, he transferred to Indiana University at Ft. Wayne where he completed a bachelor’s degree in business finance. He was employed as a sales manager, employee trainer and corporate pilot for several companies in the area including Noble Machine and Challenge Tool. He enjoyed teaching and taught several math and business courses at IVY Tech. Jim was always involved in something, he often said, “you can do anything if you have enough time and money.” He was never intimidated by any project, no matter the extent or scale of the challenge. And he accumulated the tools to accomplish most any DIY project there is.
Above all Jim loved his family. He and Barb were blessed with two wonderful daughters who became their life’s focus. Jim prioritized their activities and tried to capture every minute of their lives on film. He had a passion for photography and was willing to use as much film as needed to get that one expression, or that perfect shot. He really appreciated the digital media age. He once said, “if only my eyes could be cameras and I could capture every moment.” This sentiment only grew when his grandchildren came along. The boxes and boxes of photographs serve as a reminder of Jim’s desire to capture every moment.
Jim’s love for family extended beyond the walls of their house as he unselfishly loved and enjoyed time with his parents, siblings and their families, and several close life-long friends and their families. He and Barb welcomed all of Brenda’s and Tammy’s friends, and they even became well-loved by many friends of their grandchildren. Jim would do everything he could to help those he loved – many can attest to this.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Willard and Youba; sister: Betty Jean, and brothers: William E.” Billy”, and Thomas S.
He is survived by his loving wife (of 59 years) Barbara Jane (Enzor), brothers: Willard Jr. “Bud” of Colorado, and Jack (Ila Rae) of Fort Wayne. Daughters: Brenda A. (John) Perkey, Tammy L. (Brian) Baker, both of Fishers, Indiana. Grandchildren: Jeff (Allison) Perkey, Tim (Cassie) Perkey, Brianna, Ashley, Brooke, Brennan, and Kevin Baker; and great-grandchildren: Olivia, Ryan, and Levi.
It is well known to anyone who knew Jim that he loved his dogs, he had compassion for all animals, but his dogs were, and are, dearly loved. Because of this and his military service, the family has chosen Indiana Canine Assistant Network (ICAN; icandog.org) and Max Soviak Foundation in Berlin Heights, Ohio (maxtonsoviak.org) as preferred recipients of memorials gifts.
The family would like to extend a heart-felt thank you to the many medical professionals at the Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis, where Jim received extraordinary attention and care while being treated with dignity, honor, and respect.
Because of Jim’s acceptance of Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross, we are confident that he is enjoying the blessed promises of God in His presence. Therefore, a celebration of life is planned for Saturday, February 17th, 2024, at Cyntheanne Christian Church, 13151 Cyntheanne Rd, Fishers, IN 46037, with calling at 10:00 a.m., and service at 11:00 a.m. The final resting place will be at Crown Hill National Cemetery, in Indianapolis, with a private service on Monday, the 19th of February.
Arrangements have been entrusted to The Cremation Society of Indiana, 4115 Shelby Street. Leave A Message or Share A Memory.