Matthew James Cunningham
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MATTHEW JAMES CUNNINGHAM Passed away on Sunday, December 2, 2001 at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco, California. He was born on September 30, 1975 in Butler, Pennsylvania, the son of Patricia Sloan and James Cunningham both of Butler, Pennsylvania. He was a 1994 graduate of Butler Area Senior High School where he was a member of the National Honor Society, the varsity tennis team, and active in intramural sports. He was also listed in Who's Who of American High School Students. After graduation from high school, he attended Penn State University where he received a B.S. Degree in Environmental and Renewable Resource Economics in 1999 and was a Dean's List student. He was a recipient of the William T. Butz Memorial Award and the Cease Memorial Scholarship. He was active in the Environmental Economics Club, Eco-Action, and the PSU Students Adopt-A-Highway programs while at Penn State. During the summers he worked at North Pittsburgh Telephone Company. He was also a volunteer fireman with the Lyndora Volunteer Fire Company. After graduating from Penn State, he attended the University of California Davis Law School in Davis, California. He volunteered for the Employment Law Center and the Earth Island Institute in San Francisco. He was an accomplished guitarist and songwriter. In addition to his parents, he is survived by his sister, Jennifer Walker, of Oakland, California, his stepfather, Gregory Sloan of Butler, his stepmother Jeanette Cunningham of Butler, his maternal grandmother, Madeline Esper of Butler and his paternal grandmother, Kathleen McBride of Butler, a brother-in-law, Darcel Walker of Oakland, California, two step sisters, Lisa Hyatt of Butler, Yvonne McAvoy of Butler, a step brother, John Jenkins of Butler and several other relatives. He was preceded in death by his maternal grandfather, Charles Esper and paternal grandfather, James Cunningham both of Butler. Matthew loved nature and memorial contributions can be made to an environmental organization of the donor's choice. Friends are invited to a Memorial Service at Muir Woods National Monument in Marin County, on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 2:00 p.m. CHAPEL OF THE CHIMES OAKLAND (510) 654-0123 "Service of Marked Distinction"

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in ANG Newspapers on Dec. 6, 2001.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
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50 entries
December 1, 2019
I feel a strong immortal hope,
which bears my mournful spirit up beneath its mountain load;
redeemed from death, and grief, and pain,
I soon shall find my friend again within the arms of God.

- charles wesley
September 30, 2019
I'm thinking of you on your birthday, Matt. I love you so much and am so deeply grateful for all that you have given to me.
You will forever be in my heart.
September 30, 2019
Short story about Matthew.

While Matt was attending Penn State, he worked summers where I worked at North Pittsburgh Telephone Company. Matt worked in the Installation and Repair (I&R) group. He was very well liked, did a great job and was tasked with work not normally assigned to summer help. In fact, while there, Matthew was assigned his own service van and was entrusted to work in the Telco Central Office running jumpers to provide telephone service. And during my 33 year career at NPT I was unaware of any other summer help given his own van and assigned central office work.

Anyhow as an I&R worker, Matt had his own locker in the company "Ready Room" where he could stow his gear. After Matthew left the company and after he died, his locker (with his nameplate on) was never reassigned. And several years later, when the lockers were being replaced during remodeling, one of the I&R staff removed his nameplate and gave it to me so I could pass it on to Pat. She now has it as a reminder of just how much everyone at NPT respected and loved Matthew.

As do I.

Greg Sloan
September 30, 2019
Lighting a candle for your birthday.
Jennifer Simpson
September 30, 2019
Sending my Love up to your Light

Happy Birthday Matthew
December 1, 2018
Seventeen years tomorrow...
and I'm still standing...

because of love for you and from you.
September 30, 2018
Good Morning Matthew. Happy Birthday.

Love you forever...
December 1, 2017
Thinking of you, Matt. Now and always. Sending love to your wonderful being.
December 1, 2017
It matters not that 16 years have passed since you left, we still miss you. Hoping Jerry Garcia is entertaining you!
Dee Luca
November 30, 2017
Is it true God answers all prayers?
Sometimes the answer is No.

~from M*A*S*H

December 2 will be 16 years.

I love you Matthew.
October 2, 2017
Memory eternal. The pain may ease but good memories last forever. Sending hugs & God's blessings to all the family & friends!
Mary Deep
October 1, 2017
Thinking of you, Matt, always. Gratitude arisies throughout every year as I more and more realize the deep and meaningful lessons that you taught me. I am a better person because of you and the world is a more blessed place because you were a part of it. Love you always.
September 29, 2017
September 30 is Matt's 42nd Birthday.

Here's another poem he wrote in his 10th grade AP English class.


I drive round the block, to see the sun rise.
The eternal beauty within your eyes.
I am going crazy, like no one before.
I strive and I yearn just to knock at your door.
A smile or hello means so much to me,
If there was only some way to make you see.
My thoughts are filled with the dream of tomorrow.
A world without you would only mean sorrow.
I've been waiting so long, to just look in your eyes.
I'll drive round the world, to see your sun rise.


Happy Birthday Matthew.
I love you forever.
December 2, 2016
Never forgotten❤
December 1, 2016
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

~lawrence binyon
September 30, 2016
Matt, I thought about you the other day and how much you enjoyed the Jerry Garcia and Grateful Dead t-shirts I would bring to you when I worked at Winterland. Your memory lives on.
Dee Luca
September 30, 2016
My heart still cries when I think of the pain your family lives with, & how much you're always missing him. Hard to believe he'd be 41. I can still see his precious face so young as I cut his hair!! Memory eternal. God Bless you all.....
Mary (Lanie) Deep
September 29, 2016
Happy Birthday (a little early, but that's me)

Recently I read a poem written for the Restore Hetch Hetchy website that could have been done by you... and it says everything we shared...

Under deep water
The Tuolumne still flows
Crying for the sun

I love you forever.
September 29, 2016
Billy Joel sang that "only the good die young". Unfortunately that is too often true. And it's really sad. Lord knows this crazy world could use more "good" right now.

September 30 is Matt's birthday. He would be 41.

Happy Birthday Matt.

Love and respect...

December 25, 2015
Adeste Fideles
December 2, 2015
Thinking of Matt today
December 1, 2015
There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love...
~thornton wilder
September 30, 2015
Happy Birthday Matthew
love, mom
September 29, 2015
When Matt was 10 he went for an airplane ride with his Dad, a private pilot. While they were in the air Dad noticed something in Matt's hand. It was a garage door opener. Dad asked why he brought that in the plane. Matt replied "because I know there are only so many code combinations for this thing, look how many garage doors I'm opening!"
September 26, 2015
September 30, 2015 will be Matthew's 40th birthday. Making him middle aged. Instead, he's forever young. And we can only imagine the good he would have accomplished.

Matthew. Your candle continues to burn in our home like it has every day for the past fourteen years. And your Mom and I frequently toast your memory.

Happy Birthday.


Greg Sloan
December 1, 2014
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
October 1, 2014
I remember meeting Matt at a Phil & Friends show in Oakland. He was sitting right in front of me, by himself, and we started chatting. I remember thinking right away that he seemed like the nicest guy. I introduced him to my son Tim, sitting a few seats away, and then to my nephew Damian and his girlfriend Kristie, when they returned to their seats next to me, and we all became instant friends. After the show, we gave him a ride back to his sister's home where he was staying, with promises to all get together again soon, which we did. Matt became a part of our family, and one of the closest friends my son Tim has ever had. His warmth, generosity, friendliness, and altruism made him a very special person, and the world has lost a great soul. We all miss him terribly.........
Regina DeFalco Lippert
September 30, 2014
When I think of Matt, and I do quite often, I remember how he loved the Jerry Garcia Tees I would bring from Winterland where I was working. I'm glad I had the pleasure of being able to share his wit and humor. Miss you.
Dee Luca
September 29, 2014
Happy Birthday Matthew

I love you. I miss you.

If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.
-Winnie the Pooh
November 29, 2013
New photos have been added to the guest book.
November 29, 2013
UC Davis Spring Break 2001 with Jaime and Kim
November 29, 2013
UC Davis Spring Break 2001
November 27, 2013
As December 2 approaches, I wanted to share another poem written by Matt for his AP English class.
I love you Matthew. Mom

The Dying Man

A man wondered lonely through the night.
Without a house and without a home.
The wiseman guided his every step.
The man's pace quickened through the lonely night.
He entered a cave, and the wiseman followed.
The man shivered with fear as the dark cave roared.
The cave was crumbling into the sea, but the man kept walking.
He walked and stumbled and fell to the ground.
And the last thing heard was his dying sound.
November 11, 2013
We have a very special Memorial to add to the previously posted lists of Matthew's ongoing legacy.

UC Davis Alumni Association informed us that Matt's Law School classmates are establishing an endowed scholarship in his memory.

Matthew's legacy continues to grow!
Matt's Family
September 30, 2013
Happy Birthday Matthew.

I love you.
September 29, 2013
While looking through some of Matt's old books (and it only took me 12 years to do it) I found poems he had written for his AP English class. Here's one...

Fallin' in the Sunshine

A bedful of roses floats to the sky,
Anyone who sees them has to be high.
Watching the flowers and dreaming the sunshine.
Only with this will we all be fine.
A trip you may take,
as far as you wish.
With this you die in a patented kiss.
You fly in a plane, you fly to the sky.
Just one more hit,
and we'll all be high.

Happy Birthday Matthew
I love you.
November 30, 2012
On September 28,2005 I shared an excerpt from a long poem written by Matt. Here is the rest of that poem.

I saw a lady on the side of the road
She had some seeds that needed sowed
The seeds she had were the seeds of life
I wanted her to be my wife
Sow the seeds, the unknown seeds

I saw a cat on the side of the road
She had some seeds that needed sowed
The seeds she had were the seeds of wonderin'
She said your mind is always tumblin'
Sow the seeds, the unknown seeds

I saw an old lady on the side of the road
She had some seeds that needed sowed
The seeds she had were the seeds of the end
I told her that her heart I could mend
Sow the seeds, the unknown seeds
September 30, 2012
Just weant you to know, you are not forgotten.
Dee Luca
September 28, 2012
Here's another story about Matthew that shows what an "interesting" child he was.

When Matt was 3 years old he started going to Day Care. Everything was going well and he really enjoyed it. One day as I arrived after work to pick him up a staff member stopped me and asked why I hadn't told them about his allergies. I said, "what allergies?" Well, apparently, they served meatloaf and canned green beans for lunch that day and he looked at his plate and then told them he couldn't eat that because he was allergic. Of course they believed him because they didn't expect a 3 year old to pronounce that word perfectly unless he had been taught. On the way home we talked about it. I asked why he said that and he said he didn't like the looks of it! (A future vegetarian in the making!)

Happy Birthday Matthew

I love you...
September 23, 2012
Matthew's Birthday is coming up the end of the month. September 30. So the other day, I asked Pat how old Matthew would be this year. She said he would be 37...but he'll always be 26. Indeed. He'll always be 26.

Happy Birthday Matt.

February 1, 2012
I saw this quote. And immediately thought of Matthew. It's how he lived. "Life is not about avoiding storms. It's about learning to dance in the rain."
Greg Sloan
December 1, 2011
OH, my. How time flies. I remember him so well when he was just a little tot! He sure did enjoy his short lived life but we know he lives on with our Savior. What a great way to share his life. Thank you all. Lanie
December 1, 2011

We love you Matthew.

*photos have been added to Matt's album
Mom and Jenn
November 30, 2011
Matt's legacy lives on through these memorials and contributions that continue to be made in his loving memory...

*Matt's Annual Scholarship
*Restore Hetch Hetchy - Yosemite
*Sempervirens - Santa Cruz Mt. Redwoods
*Animal Place Sanctuary - CA
*Butler Memorial Hospital
*Special Masses
*Legal Aid Society - SanFrancisco
*Trees for Life - 50 fruit trees planted
*Butler Road Race
*Butler County Humane Society
*Southern Poverty Law Center
*Butler Public Library
*The Elephant Sanctuary - TN
*Butler Community Health Clinic
*Bluewater Network - Friends of the Earth
*Transplant Games - Donor Recognition Ceremony
November 30, 2011
Favorite chair
November 30, 2011
Yosemite 1999
November 30, 2011
Phish New Year's concert 2000
November 30, 2011
Wearing "Bathtub Gin" shirt with Jen and Nisha
September 28, 2011
As September 30 approaches, I recall the last birthday spent with you on Howe St. in Oakland, and reflect on the 10 birthdays that have passed since you have been gone...

You remain forever young...
Forever loved...

Happy Birthday Matthew.
September 27, 2011
Hey Matt,
I was in State College last weekend and was thinking of all the fun times we had there. Miss you buddy.
Lane Vargo
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