John Wayne Cunningham

John Wayne Cunningham, 75, of Topping, Virginia, passed away at home the evening of September 22, 2017, of dementia, surrounded by his loving family and friends. John was born in Washington, D.C. on March 22, 1942 to William T. and Lucy Wilkins Cunningham. John is survived by his beloved wife and devoted companion of over 30 years, Sonja F. Cunningham. He is also survived by his cherished children, daughter Tina Cunningham, and son William T. Cunningham, both of Springfield, Virginia, from his first marriage; two adored grandsons, Ryan and Kevin Mahoney; and his brother, William D. Cunningham. His sister Diane Bennett predeceased him. John also had numerous family members, neighbors, and friends who will greatly miss his keen sense of humor and generous spirit. Also, and importantly, he leaves behind his faithful, 4-legged friends, Mimi, Bella, and Steward. John was raised in Alexandria, Virginia and graduated from G.W. High School where he played four years of varsity football and was awarded the Dinky Scott Trophy. Following graduation, he served as a private in the United States Army for six years and in the National Guard, where he was stationed at the National Armory. In April 1963 John proudly joined the United States Park Police, Washington, D.C. He was based out of Fort Hunt Park stables, where he worked on the horse-mounted unit with his Morgan horse, Easy Street. One of his first assignments was protecting dignitaries at the Martin Luther King, Jr. “I Have A Dream” rally on the National Mall. Many Alexandrians can recall what a distinguished and gentle person he was as he carried out his police duties along the George Washington Parkway and in the Park. John retired from the Force in April 1983. John also worked as a salesman at Jack Taylor’s Alexandria Toyota. After retirement he held positions with M.E. Flow and Customs Transmissions, both in Alexandria. Retiring to Topping in 1998, he enjoyed fishing, watching The Young & the Restless, crab-eating, and drinking Coors Xtra Gold. Many times John stated that he wanted to leave the world having made it a better place. That wish was fulfilled whether it was through his quiet compassion for rescuing animals, his unquestioning assistance to friends and family, or countless acts of kindness. Per John’s request, there will be no memorial or funeral service. In lieu of flowers, the family wishes donations be made to your local SPCA.


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