Harry Cunningham Kmart founder


November 14, 1992

Harry B. Cunningham, who as president of the S. S. Kresge Co. opened the first Kmart department store three decades ago, died Wednesday in his sleep at his North Palm Beach, Fla., home.

"Harry Cunningham's vision, creativity and leadership have reshaped the world of retailing. His contribution to Kmart Corp. will long be remembered by all who had the pleasure of working with him," Joseph E. Antonini, chairman and chief executive officer of the Troy, Mich.-based company, said Thursday.

The 85-year-old Home Camp, Pa., native began his retail career in the 1940s with S. S. Kresge. He became general vice president of the variety-store chain in 1957, and was elected president in 1959.

In 1962, he created the first Kmart discount department store.

He was elected chairman of the board in 1967. As the popularity and profits of Kmart exceeded those of the Kresge dime stores, the chains combined and changed the company name to Kmart Corp.

He stepped down as chairman of the board and chief executive officer in 1972.

In 1991, Kmart sales totaled $35 billion with about 4,000 Kmart-owned specialty and general merchandise stores across the country and in Puerto Rico, Australia, Canada and Czechoslovakia.

Mr. Cunningham was on the board of Kmart Canada Ltd., Kmart Australia Ltd., Bendix Corp., National Bank of Detroit, Warner-Lambert Co., Burroughs Corp. and National Steel Corp.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret Diefendorf Cunningham; three daughters; a brother; three sisters; and grandchildren.

John F. Sikorski

Mail carrier, carver

John F. Sikorski, whose carvings of ducks won prizes, died Wednesday of cancer at his home in Linthicum Heights.

A Mass of Christian burial for Mr. Sikorski, 73, was scheduled for 10 a.m. today at St. Philip Neri Roman Catholic Church, 6405 Orchard Road.

Mr. Sikorski retired in 1978 from the Roland Park post office. He was a letter carrier and worked from that office for much of his career.

For a time after World War II, he worked for the Procter and Gamble Manufacturing Co.

A native of Baltimore who graduated from Our Lady of Good Counsel School and Southern High School, he also studied aeronautical drafting at the old Maryland Institute on Market Place.

Drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II, he served with the 29th Division, participating in the landing in Normandy and reaching the rank of staff sergeant.

He began carving ducks after his retirement and was a charter member of the Linthicum Wood Carvers. His ducks won awards at Ward Foundation World Champion Wildfowl Carving competitions at Ocean City and at Havre de Grace decoy festivals.

His work as an adult leader for 35 years, 10 of them as scoutmaster, with Boy Scout Troop 822 at the Linthicum Heights United Methodist Church, brought him the Boy Scouts Silver Beaver Award. Mr. Sikorski also was a former president of the Linthicum Heights Chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons.

He is survived by his wife of 46 years, the former Thelma F. Schoenfelder; twin sons, Henry J. Sikorski of Westminster and Drew J. Sikorski of Ellicott City; three sisters, Rosalie Pradich, Frances Bartek and Mary Chesnavage, all of Dundalk; three brothers, Stephen Sikorski of Edgemere, Joseph Sikorski of Pylesville and retired Army Col. Andrew Sikorski of Baltimore; and four grandchildren.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.