Fay Cunningham Obituary
 
In Memory of

Fay L Cunningham

July 26, 1922 - November 9, 2018
Obituary

Fay L. Cunningham, 96, of Sarasota, FL and Littleton, CO died November 9, 2018, in Littleton, Colorado. Fay was born July 26, 1922, in Lansing, MI to Ernest and Catharine (Remington) Cunningham. He spent his youth in Lansing, Michigan, graduating from Lansing Eastern High School in January, 1939 at the age of sixteen. When he became seventeen he enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corps and was sent to a camp in Wisconsin where he was the foreman of the timber cruising crew. He started Michigan State University in 1940 and managed to get two years of engineering in before enlisting in the Anny in 1942. After basic training he was...
Fay L. Cunningham, 96, of Sarasota, FL and Littleton, CO died November 9, 2018, in Littleton, Colorado.

Fay was born July 26, 1922, in Lansing, MI to Ernest and Catharine (Remington) Cunningham. He spent his youth in Lansing, Michigan, graduating from Lansing Eastern High School in January, 1939 at the age of sixteen.

When he became seventeen he enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corps and was sent to a camp in Wisconsin where he was the foreman of the timber cruising crew. He started Michigan State University in 1940 and managed to get two years of engineering in before enlisting in the Anny in 1942. After basic training he was sent to the University of Maryland for advanced engineering training. After completing the mechanical engineering courses in the Army Specialized Training Program, he was transferred to the Specialized Engineering Detachment, Manhattan Engineering District at Oak Ridge, TN. After a brief stint at K- 25 gaseous diffusion plant (upgrading uranium), he was transferred to the Metallurgical Project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he helped develop a machine to reproducibly tamp crucibles which after firing were sent to the Los Alamos Site for use in the final reductions of uranium and plutonium. He then worked on beryllium metallurgy until May of 1946. He then went to Operation Crossroads at Bikini, in the Marshall Islands (atom bomb tests Able and Baker), where he was a Radiation Monitor in the Radiological Safety Section measuring radiation on the surviving target vessels. After being discharged from the army, he reenrolled at M. S. U. and obtained a Bachelor's degree in chemical engineering in 1948.

At this time he married Geraldine (Geri) Smokovitz, whom he had met in chemistry class at MSU, and began working as a Development Chemical Engineer at the Upjohn Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Subsequently he became Research Manager of Fermentation Development, Research Manager of Chemical Engineering Development and finally as Director of Chemical Production. During the course of this work he and his teams played an important part in the development of processes for the production of the bulk drug for nearly all of Upjohn's many products. He set up a training program for Egyptian scientists in scaling up chemical processes as a part of the State Dept. A. I D. program and went to Egypt twice to assist in its implementation. He was active in community affairs, serving in Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, PTA, management associations, as well as engineering and chemical associations. He retired in 1988 after 40 years with Upjohn. He and Geri traveled extensively worldwide after retirement and gradually retired from skiing, tennis, and backpacking and climbing and phased into golf. His exposure to beryllium at MIT during the war came back to haunt him as chronic berylliosis took its toll.

In 1998, He and Geri established residence in Sarasota and a summer home in Littleton, CO. He is survived by his loving wife of 70 years, Geri, and two children, Deborah (Patrick) Reynolds of Littleton, CO and Bruce (Karen) Cunningham of Sandy, Utah. Also surviving are four grandchildren, Remington Reynolds and Bridgette Reynolds, Shilo (Cunningham) Ward and Echo Cunningham, as well as two great grandchildren.

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"I have been truly blessed in life to have the most amazing grandparents! I will always remember the precious summers I got to spend at my grandparents house..." Shilo Ward (Sandy, UT)

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