Roger Cunningham, age 81, died suddenly at home on Tuesday evening, June 21, 2022, with his beloved wife Shirley at his side. Roger was born on December 4, 1940, in Chicago, and grew up in Galesburg, IL. In 1966 he married Shirley Koelling, and they resided for most of their married life in the Peoria area.
Roger is survived by his wife, by his sister-in-law and brother-in-law Ruth and Paul De Bruine, by four nieces and eight grandnieces and grandnephews, and by numerous cousins. Roger was preceded in death by his parents Frank and Mabel Cunningham, nephew Jeff De Bruine, and nine cousins with whom he enjoyed close friendships as they lived on the same block.
Roger earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education from Illinois Wesleyan University and the University of Illinois, and proudly played trombone in the US Army band for two years at Fort Knox. He also played trombone in the Peoria Symphony Orchestra and the Peoria Municipal Band. Roger was a skilled player of recorders and participated in various recorder ensembles and music festivals throughout the country. Roger had a career in computer programming, spending most of his years at RLI.
Roger was an active member of the Universalist Unitarian Church of Peoria where he sang in the choir and managed the UU Cuubs church baseball team in the 1990’s. The team was famous for winning few games but having a lot of fun. In recent years Roger became an avid student of the Mandarin language, inspired by several close connections with Chinese students, friends, and teachers.
A 1:30 PM visitation and a 2:00 PM memorial service followed by a reception will be held Saturday, June 25, 2022, at the Universalist Unitarian Church, 3000 W Richwoods Blvd, Peoria, IL 61604. Masks are required. Donations can be made to the Universalist Unitarian Church of Peoria or the Center for Prevention of Abuse. Mason-White Funeral Home in Washington is assisting the family with arrangements. To share a memory or send a condolence to his family, visit www.masonfuneralhomes.com.