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Obituaries

Postmaster was known for his graciousness

| Saturday, Dec. 9, 2006

Gracious and caring in nature, there was rarely a day that Robert Cunningham did not take the hand of a stranger - whether in a store or the lobby of the post office where he was postmaster - and thank them for simple things.

"Even when Bob was ill there was not one person that did something for him that he did not take their hand and thank them," said his wife, Frances Cunningham. "That was the caring side of Bob."

Robert E. Cunningham, of Greensburg, Westmoreland County, died Thursday, Dec. 7, 2006, in the Rehabilitation and Nursing Center at Greater Pittsburgh, Hempfield, Westmoreland County. He was 79.

Born Dec. 24, 1926, in Rices Landing, Greene County, Mr. Cunningham was the son of G. Herbert and Helen A. Cunningham.

He settled in Brownsville, Washington County, with his family as a young boy.

In 1944, after he graduated from Brownsville High School, Mr. Cunningham enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps.

He served stateside during World War II as an instructor in cryptology before voluntarily transferring to the 3718th Basic Training Unit at Buckley Field, Colo., where he served as a sergeant in charge of the flight line.

"Bob had orders to go to Okinawa, and when he accepted the position as an instructor they were canceled," said his wife. "When offered that position, he graciously accepted."

Mr. Cunningham began his 43-year career with the U.S. Postal Service as superintendent of mails at the Brownsville Post Office, where he rose to assistant postmaster.

He also owned and operated New Club Bowling Alley and Fiddle's Bar and Restaurant.

He married the then-Frances Shandor on Sept. 15, 1973, and settled in Donora, Washington County, before he was promoted to director of customer services for the Postal Service's Greensburg Management Sectional Center.

They had relocated to Greensburg, and Mr. Cunningham became responsible for 221 post offices in Western Pennsylvania. In 1991, he retired as postmaster from the Latrobe Post Office.

Mr. Cunningham and his wife liked to explore new places.

"Both Bob and Fran enjoyed traveling, and had visited over 30 countries and 20 islands," said Fred Panebianco, his friend of 34 years. "He enjoyed sharing what he learned from his travels with family and friends.

"He was one to work hard and enjoyed life to its fullest."

Survivors include his wife, Frances Shandor Cunningham; and a sister, Marlene Evans, of Mt. Lebanon.

He was preceded in death by his parents, G. Herbert and Helen A. Cunningham.

Family and friends are being received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday at the Kepple-Graft Funeral Home, 524 N. Main St., Greensburg, where prayers are scheduled at 9:30 a.m. Monday.

Mass of Christian Burial follows at 10 a.m. in Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, 300 N. Main St., Greensburg, with Monsignor Roger Statnick as celebrant and the Revs. Justin Nolan, Edward Litavec, Gilbert Burke and Richard Chirichiello as co-celebrants.

Burial with military honors, accorded by the South Greensburg American Legion Post 981, is to be in Greensburg Catholic Cemetery.

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