PETER RITSHER CUNNINGHAM, M.D. - JOHNSON - Peter Ritsher Cunningham, M.D., died Oct. 11, 2012, at the age of 86. He was a kind, loving, caring and gentle man who will be missed by his family and by so many whose lives he touched. The son of the late Gerald and Louise Cunningham of Johnson, Peter was born on Dec. 13, 1925, in Jacksonville, Fla., and grew up in Janesville, Wis. Under an accelerated wartime program, Peter attended Yale University and Yale Medical School, graduating from both in 1946. While there, he met his wife of sixty-five years, Janice Judd Rice of North Haven, Conn., who was working at the Yale bursar's office. Peter joined the Navy while in college and worked at the Navy hospital in Newport, R.I., after graduation from medical school. In 1954, he and Janice moved to Keene, N.H., where he practiced, in his home office, for two years as a general practitioner. In 1956, with his family of five, he and Janice moved to Westville, Conn., while Peter returned to Yale to finish a second residency in pediatrics. In 1957, the family moved to Guilford, Conn., where Peter practiced pediatrics for thirty years. He retired in 1986 and shortly thereafter moved to Johnson, where he and Janice enjoyed their many grandchildren, being part of their everyday lives. Aside from his family, Peter's true love was a log cabin he built from logs he harvested himself, on a lake in Maine. There he could be the truly quiet person he was, happily immersed in nature, surrounded by his family. Always an early riser, he enjoyed taking his children and grandchildren on fishing trips at dawn in his beloved wooden canoe. For sixty-four years, he and Janice celebrated "the most beautiful time of day" while watching the sun set over his beloved "pond" in Maine. He was an avid gardener, skilled carpenter, house-restorer, sailor and snorkeler. Besides his wife, he leaves his five children and their spouses, Penny and Jim Hommeyer of Groton, Mass., Pam and Bill Jaspersohn of Johnson, Betsy and Len Langer of Yarmouth, Maine, Peter and MaryCatherine Cunningham of Dayton, Maine and Amy and Eric Schulz of Johnson; twelve grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. There will be a private celebration of Peter's life at a later date.

Published in The Burlington Free Press on Oct. 16, 2012