Anita Carol Cunningham passed away peacefully on Friday, January 25, 2013 at her residence in Gainesville, Florida, after an extended 17 year challenge of a malignant brain cancer.
Anita was born in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin on October 10th, 1936, the oldest child of Stephen Chester Pelot Sr. and Anastasia Agnes Remsha. She was married to Charles Joseph Cunningham of La Crosse, Wisconsin on May 30th, 1959 at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Wisconsin Rapids. She attended Hillview Country School (one-room eight grades), St. Peter and Paul Catholic Grade School, and St. Joseph's Academy in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Following graduation from the Academy, Anita continued her education at St. Francis School of Nursing in La Crosse. After graduation, she successfully completed her examination for the Wisconsin State Nursing Board and practiced at Riverview Hospital in her hometown of Wisconsin Rapids. Anita was also licensed to practice in California. Then, following a life-long dream, Anita pursued her wishes to be an airline flight attendant.
Her marriage in May 1959 shortened her flight attendant days, but added a new dimension to her life as a career navy officer's wife. The excitement of living in various areas of the United States including San Diego, the San Francisco area, Virginia Beach, Virginia and Washington, DC were welcomed. Opportunities to travel to Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, England, and Mediterranean and European countries added positive experiences.
In addition to being a devoted and dedicated wife and mother of three children, Anita focused her outside activities on volunteer organizations such as the Naval Relief Society, lifetime member of the Navy League of the United States, American Red Cross, Haven Hospice Lexington KY, Catholic Charities Gainesville, commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel, Girl Scouts, Toastmasters USA, University of Florida hospital's pediatric department, Interdenominational Hospitality Network, church's Welcoming committee and Bereavement committee, Alpha program and various school PTAs around the country. Anita was an active member of Queen of Peace Catholic Church, Gainesville.
Anita is survived by her husband of 53 plus years Charles (Chuck) Cunningham; a son, Charles Mark Cunningham and wife Sandra and granddaughters Daisy and India of Santa Fe, New Mexico; a daughter, Shannon Lea and granddaughter JorDann of Clearwater, Florida, and a daughter, Kelly Ann Cunningham-Bowers and husband Roger and grandchildren Christopher, Katherine, and Nicholas of Littleton, Colorado; a sister, Judith Ann Lessig and husband Gary of Wisconsin Rapids, and a brother Stephen Chester Pelot Jr. and his children Anastasia and Stephen of Littleton, Colorado.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. in Queen of Peace Catholic Church, 10900 SW 24th Avenue with Father Jeffrey A. McGowan and Father Kazimierz Ligeza as celebrants. The family will receive friends Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., with the Rosary being recited at 7:00 p.m., at WILLIAMS-THOMAS FUNERAL HOME WESTAREA, 823 NW 143rd Street. The family suggests that memorial contributions be made in Anita's memory to Catholic Charities Gainesville, Inc., Haven Hospice Gainesville (A Team) and the Florida Sheriff's Boys and Girls Ranches.
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