Walter Cunningham

Ordnance tester, 84

December 22, 2006

Walter Kirk Cunningham, a retired Aberdeen Proving Ground engineer, died of cancer Tuesday in the hospice at Northwest Hospital Center. The longtime Northwood resident was 84.

Born in Harford County's Churchville, he moved to Hamilton in Northeast Baltimore as a child.

He earned a General Education Development diploma at night school at City College.

He worked in construction before serving in the Army during World War II. He landed at Normandy shortly after the D-Day invasion of June 6, 1944, and was a member of tank company.

He attained the rank of sergeant and later served in the Army Reserves.

After the war, he took a civilian job at Aberdeen Proving Ground, where he tested tanks and other pieces of ordnance. He retired in 1984.

An avid boater, Mr. Cunningham was five times commodore of the Otter Point Yacht Club on the Bush River.

In 1988, he was commodore of the Chesapeake Bay Commodore Club.

A Democrat, he was a member of the old Gallagher-Cunningham Political Club.

"He loved to work the polling places on election days," said his stepson Wilbur E. "Bill" Cunningham of Baltimore, who served on the City Council from 1986 to 1996.

Mr. Cunningham was a member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Evans Funeral Chapel, 8800 Harford Road, Parkville.

Survivors include his wife of 28 years, the former Erma Knepper; two other stepsons, Joseph Robert Cunningham of Springfield, Ill., and David M. Cunningham of Baltimore; a stepdaughter, Mary Anne E. Cunningham of Baltimore; nine grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Another stepson, Michael K. Cunningham, died in 1996.

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