A. Lynel Cunningham
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August 14, 1927
May 30, 2014
Brilliant. Kind-hearted. Gentle. Many words describe the man who left us in the early morning of May 30, 2014, bound for the eternal. Lynel Cunningham graced this earth for over 86 years, happy years filled with faith, family, friends, and the staffs and students of the schools at which he served 38 years as principal, Rita Cannan Elementary School and Sun Valley Elementary School.
The first of three sons born to Lillian and Lonnie Cunningham, Lynel was born on August 14, 1927, in Twin Falls, Idaho. Lynel and his two brothers grew up in the midst of the Great Depression, throughout the entire state of Nevada, making their home wherever his hard-working father could find employment, however temporary.
He was a giant of a man, not in stature, but in impact. He loved fiercely, with his whole heart. He reveled in the whole of Nevada and the sweet people and numerous sporting opportunities found everywhere here -- visiting Eureka, hunting, fishing, camping, he loved it all. He also loved the Reno Arch Lions Club, of which he was a member for 45 years and the club treasurer for 25; Spanish Springs Presbyterian Church; Sierra PTA Council and Nevada State PTA; WEA, then Washoe County Teachers Association, of which he served as president for one year, and the Reno Teachers Credit Union, of which he also served as president; the Cursillo Community and Kairos Prison Ministry.
Lynel was predeceased by his parents, Lonnie and Lillian; brother, LeRoy, sister-in-law, Patricia; two nieces, Diane and Debbie; two daughters-in-law, Twyla and Darlene; and granddaughter-in-law, Nancy.
Lynel is survived by his wife of 29 years, Diana; brother Lloyd; four children -- three sons, Dennis (Dee), Kirk (Vickie), and Scott (Brigitte), and daughter Varceil (Ron) Kamplin. Lynel was blessed abundantly with the love of children -- his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, stepchildren, step grandchildren, and several generations of beloved nieces and nephews. Through his many years as the first principal of Rita Cannan Elementary School, and long-term principal of Sun Valley Elementary School, he touched the lives and hearts of tens of thousands of children.
A memorial service was held Saturday, June 28, 1:00, at Mendive Middle School, 1900 Whitewood Drive, in Sparks. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to
in Lynel's name. Please sign the guest book at rgj.com/obituaries. Our family would like to extend special thanks to the staff of Northern Nevada Medical Center, the staff of Rosewood Rehabilitation Center, Saint Mary's Hospice, and the Reverend Howard Dotson and the beloved congregation of Spanish Springs Presbyterian Church.
Published in Reno Gazette-Journal from June 21 to June 29, 2014