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Nuclear engineer embraced life, work

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By Jerry Vondas
Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Roger Cunningham's expertise in the planning and construction of nuclear power plants was recognized by major power-producing corporations throughout the United States and Asia.

During his career as an engineer with Westinghouse Electric Corp., Mr. Cunningham participated in the construction of the company's first full-scale, non-military nuclear power plant in Shippingport, Beaver County, in 1957. Later assignments included Indian Point 2 in New York and numerous plants in Asia.

Lee Roger Cunningham of Fox Chapel died on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, in his home. He was 82.

“My husband loved his job,” said his wife, Nancy Wenner Cunningham.

Working hard and taking an interest in what he was doing was her husband's goal in life, Cunningham said.

“While growing up in Squirrel Hill, Roger could be found during his school breaks loading and unloading lumber at the Hazelwood Lumber Co., his father's business,” she said.

Mr. Cunningham served in the Army during the Korean War and earned degrees in mechanical engineering and industrial management from Carnegie Mellon University.

He was devoted to Pittsburgh, his wife said.

“Roger was a walking fountain of information, who had a great interest in the Pittsburgh area, its people and surroundings.”

Ron Flucker of Fox Chapel, Mr. Cunningham's neighbor, enjoyed the time they spent talking.

“Roger was enthusiastic in everything he did,” Flucker said. “He could talk on any variety of subjects, and when Roger took on a project, he put his whole heart in it.”

Scott Cunningham of New Jersey said his father, an elder at Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church, embraced life and enjoyed sports.

“He played paddle tennis at the Fox Chapel Racquet Club and rooted for the Steelers,” his son said.

In addition to his wife, Nancy, and son, Scott, Mr. Cunningham is survived by son Lee Cunningham of Marshall and six grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday in Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church, 384 Fox Chapel Road.

Arrangements are being handled by Weddell-Ajak Funeral Home of Aspinwall.

Jerry Vondas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7823 or jvondas@tribweb.com.

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