Jean Louise Himrod Stull Cunningham
Van Matre Funeral Home
105 Walnut Street
Waterford, PA
Jean Louise Himrod Stull Cunningham of 661 Benson Road, Waterford, died July 30, 2011. Born January 30, 1929 to Alfred E. Himrod and Georgia Briggs Himrod, she was a lifelong resident of Waterford. A 1946 graduate of Waterford Joint High School, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education from Edinboro State Teachers College in 1949 and did graduate work at Penn State University and Palomar and Mira Costa Colleges in California. Her teaching career included brief stints in Bessemer and Union City, Pennsylvania, after which she taught at Fort LeBoeuf High School in Waterford, retiring in 1985 after 31 years. Besides formal art education in all media, she instilled in her students an appreciation for the natural world. Being a strong advocate of environmental stewardship and against cruelty to animals of any kind, she strove to draw these qualities from her students. Throughout her tenure she also mentored student teachers from Edinboro and Mercyhurst Colleges. In the 1960s she began her career as a professional artist, rendering mainly in watercolors, her impressions of the natural world. She gained inspiration not only from local sites but from many travels she took throughout the United States, including Alaska and the Pribilof Islands. She visited Mexico, Belize, Kenya, and most of the provinces of Canada. Her work has been exhibited in at least nine cities in the United States. Perhaps for more than her educational and artistic accomplishments, she would like to be remembered as being a spokesperson and exemplar for environmental stewardship. With her late husband, James G. Stull, she began in 1960, banding birds on Presque Isle for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This continued for nearly 40 years. In that time, while much valuable data was accumulated, of equal if not greater importance was the number of people whose lives were enriched by experiencing a bird in hand or by having their questions about nature answered merely by having been passersby at the banding station. Recognizing a thirst for knowledge of the environment, Jean contributed a widely read nature column in the Erie newspaper during the 1950s. With Presque Isle as a focal point and with the expressed desire for people of similar interests to have a means to assemble and share their knowledge, Jean and Jim in 1956 founded the Presque Isle Nature Club that later became the Presque Isle Audubon Society, a chapter of the National Audubon Society. It is still a vital environmental organization that has grown to upwards of 700 members in northwestern Pennsylvania. In recognition of their important work in drawing attention to and working to preserve the natural history of Presque Isle, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1993 honored Jean and Jim by naming the nature exhibition building the Stull Interpretive Center. With her growing reputation on matters of the environment Jean was appointed to or served on many committees, among them the Presque Isle Advisory Committee, The Pennsylvania Wild Resource Conservation Fund Advisory Committee, Presque Isle Resource Management Plan Task Force, and the Purple Martin Conservation Association Board of Trustees. She has accrued awards from numerous and diverse organizations that have recognized her excellence in the fields of art, education, and the environment, the most recent being the 2010 John C. Oliver Environmental Award. She is survived by her husband, Harry N. (Toby) Cunningham of Waterford; a son, James A. "Sam" Stull and his wife, Barbara Mitchell, of McKean; a son, David W. Stull and wife, Charlene, of Waterford; a step-daughter, Elisa Burden and husband, Dan, and a stepson, John Cunningham and wife, Christina, all of Melbourne, Fla.; three granddaughters, Miriam Stull, Isabel Burden, and Lindsay Cunningham; a sister, Martha Smith and husband, Ralph, of Culpepper, Va.; nieces, Sheryl McDowell and Sloan Trumbo; and all those whose lives she has touched through her kindness and charity. There will be no public viewing or funeral service. Family members will greet visitors at the Van Matre Funeral Home, 105 Walnut Street, Waterford on Tuesday from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. In lieu of flowers, friends are requested to send a contribution to a charity of one's choice, particularly those dealing with animals and the environment. Condolences may be shared at

Published by Erie Times-News on Aug. 1, 2011.
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49 Entries
This is sad news, Mrs Stull was more then just my teacher, she was my guide, my insperation. I found who I am and what I could do, through her love of teaching and artistic style.
Darrell Dickerson
December 29, 2011
I just heard about the passing of this great lady. She was my favorite teacher at LeBeouf in the 60's; always positive, encouraging, and thoughtful. Thirty years later, when I saw the white pelican at Presque Isle, she said I wasn't crazy, she saw it too. God must be thrilled to have her home.
Marie Braund Cohoon
September 21, 2011
Jean, your eyes could look directly into the very Soul of Spirit, connectedness, inter-relationship of All of everything in the Universe. You saw the Whole and used your abilities to share with others the art of seeing, experiencing, expressing that joy, beauty, grace, creativity, awe, discovery, & respect for our Planet and the Natural World within. You "passed it on". Your work lives on in the countless lives you have touched with beauty and joy. Thank you, Jean!
Peace and much love,
John and Kay
Kay M Kuebler
August 29, 2011
Mrs. Stull came into my 1st grade class back in 1954 and presented a slide show on the life cycle of a beaver dam near where I lived. This became a formative moment for me and I can trace my interest in the environment and my career as an environmental educator back to this event. I'm sure I'm not the only life she influenced. Her legacy will live on through all of us.
Jack Gentile
August 12, 2011
My sincere condolence,
Walt Toperzer
Walter Toperzer
August 8, 2011
To Toby, Sam, David and their famlies. Heard of Jean's passing. I am honored that I have her prints in my home. Signed as one cousin to another. God Bless, cousin Bon Himrod
August 8, 2011
Sorry I couldn't be there in person, my deepest condolences to Toby, Sam, David, & rest of family. I always looked up to her & admire her art, respect for animals & the environment. Lots of love, Sarah
Sarah Stull-Rilley
August 7, 2011
Dear Toby and Family,
I was deeply saddened to hear of Jean's passing. Every day I fondly remember her in the 7 paintings Jean created and my visits with her. She is truly a beautiful human being. We were all blessed to know her.
Mark English, R.A.
August 7, 2011
I am so blessed to have known your mother as a neighbor, teacher, mentor,counselor, ('79 to 82) and friend. One thing she would always tell me and has rang true to this day "Tom, always remember life is not a popularity contest". Even now I still get excited about art and still dabble as a hobby. May she Rest in Peace
Thomas Kauffman II
August 5, 2011
To all who knew and loved Jean, I am so incredibly sad to hear that jean has passed she was a beautiful person inside and out. I loved doing what I could for her for the last 6 months she and I had some laughs her sense of humor was quick!One of my favorite things she said to me was darling you might as well spit in Niagara Falls I cant hear a darn thing! What a remarkable life she had I know she will be greatly missed in her family.
Lisa Hinckley
August 4, 2011
Carrie Brown-Mowery
August 3, 2011
David, Charlene and Miriam: Over the years, whenever the subject of high school or teaching came up in conversation, I always spoke highly of one of my favorite high school teachers, Mrs. Stull. When I found out our son, Ryan, was a classmate of Miriam's, I was thrilled to have another connection to your mother/mother-in-law/grandmother. I told Ryan the story I told many... Mrs. Stull gave me an A for a papier mache giraffe I made that was, well, not exactly A material when I looked at it. She saw my "vision" when even I couldn't. I am honored to have known Jean Stull Cunningham.
Kim Trott
August 3, 2011
Sam and family,
I am so sorry to hear of your mom passing. She will be greatly missed. God Bless.
Carrie Rosenthal-Magee
August 3, 2011
Toby, I am so very sorry for your loss. Our prayers are indeed with you!
Robert, Melody and Hannah Gillander
Robert Gillander
August 3, 2011
Toby and Sam,

We are so sorry to lose Jean; she has left an unforgettable legacy. It was really wonderful to bird watch with her. In her later years, on our enclosed porch, it was so much easier than the challenge of being in nature itself.

We will miss her, but always have happy memories of her.

Marti and Tony Pastore
August 3, 2011
Our deepest sympathies to your family. I grew up hearing Jean's name in my home, as a revered and wonderful Erie artist. My parents owned 2 pieces by Jean, they were beautiful and I would gaze upon them in complete wonderment. I know she was a treasure and extremely special person. She will be greatly missed but left such an incredible legacy. God bless.
laurie rudolph-francis
August 2, 2011
She was graceful, beautiful and amazing!
She was a gift as a teacher and friend.
Jean will never be forgotten! Sincerest sympathy to all of her family and those who knew and loved her.
Wendy Wakeley Whiteman
August 2, 2011
Toby, we're sorry to hear of your wife's passing. You both made many contributions to nature lovers. We'll keep you in our thoughts & prayers. God bless you & your family. Lee & Kathy Tillman
August 2, 2011
Dr. Cunningham, I am so sorry for your loss. Jean was such a wonderful person. The few times we were all together, in Florida and at the lake, I had some of the most interesting conversations with her. Dylan still remembers when he was a little boy and wanted to bring home a salamander from your driveway and Jean kindly explained why it wasn't a good idea. Know that my thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Mary Cole
August 2, 2011
Had her for my Art teacher four years at Fort LeBoeuf, very nice and kind person. We need to be more like the loving and kind person she was. God is walking with her now.
Don & Ruth Burlingame
August 2, 2011
Sam and family,
I'm so sorry to hear of your mom's passing. She and your dad were very special to my parents. Keep her spirit alive in all you do. Thoughts and prayers are with you.
Cindy Wakeley Tanner
August 2, 2011
Mrs Stull was my Art teacher throughout my high school years (1955-1961) at FLB and I learned much from her about life and art. The following is what I feel she would want to say to her family and friends.

To my dearest family, some things I'd like to say...
but first of all, to let you know, that I arrived okay.
I'm writing this from heaven. Here I dwell with God above.
Here, there's no more tears of sadness; here is just eternal love.

Please do not be unhappy just because I'm out of sight.
Remember that I'm with you every morning, noon and night.
That day I had to leave you when my life on earth was through,
God picked me up and hugged me and He said, "I welcome you."

It's good to have you back again; you were missed while you were gone.
As for your dearest family, they'll be here later on.
I need you here badly; you're part of my plan.
There's so much that we have to do, to help our mortal man.

God gave me a list of things, that he wished for me to do.
And foremost on the list, was to watch and care for you.
And when you lie in bed at night, the day's chores put to flight.
God and I are closest to the middle of the night.

When you think of my life on earth, and all those loving years
because you are only human, they are bound to bring you tears.
But do not be afraid to cry; it does relieve the pain.
Remember there would be no flowers, unless there was some rain.

I wish that I could tell you all that God has planned.
But if I were to tell you, you wouldn't understand.
But one thing is for certain, though my life on earth is o'er.
I'm closer to you now, than I ever was before.

There are many rocky roads ahead of you and many hills to climb;
but together we can do it by taking one day at a time.
It was always my philosophy and I'd like it for you too...
that as you give unto the world, the world will give to you.

If you can help somebody who's in sorrow and pain,
then you can say to God at night......"My day was not in vain."
And now I am contented....that my life has been worthwhile,
knowing as I passed along the way, I made somebody smile.

So if you meet somebody who is sad and feeling low,
just lend a hand to pick him up, as on your way you go.
When you're walking down the street, and you've got me on your mind;
I'm walking in your footsteps only half a step behind.

And when it's time for you to go.... from that body to be free,
remember you're not're coming here to me.

Ruth Ann Mahaffey (author)
©Copyright 1998
Bea Froess Wylie
August 2, 2011
Sam , Barb and family , We are verry sorry to hear of Jeans passing , Our thoughts and prayers are with you
Bill & Kathy Reagan
August 2, 2011
Jean was an extraordinary human being and lady. She taught me so much about birds and to use my voice as a member of the Presque Isle Advisory Committee to protect the wildlife, ecosystem & habitat at the peninsula. The birds, waterfowl, mammals, butterflies & dragonflies are all better because you looked out for them & taught us all how valuable they are. Rest in peace Jean. You left a wonderful legacy of love, learning & empathy for us all to carry on.
Susan A. Smith
~May you always hear the whisper of wings ~
August 2, 2011
My Art Teacher Jean (1974-1976)

Below is a small story I wrote to my classmates. It tells how I feel about her and morn her loss.

I was visiting my parents about 10 years after graduation and went to the Millcreek mall for something for my Mom. I ran into Mrs. Stull outside of JC Penny’s in the main concourse and she recognized me immediately, and I her. I walked up to her and said “Hello Mrs. Stull” and she greeted me with her great smile and said “Well look at you, Ron Fichthorn, call me Jean”

I was in a suit and tie at that time. I had just won some design award that month for something. We chatted about a few things, the death of Roger Owen’ what Ralph Bacon is doing and before we departed, I looked at her and said, “Ms. Stull, you made me what I am in the design world today”. She burst into tears and told me “Never have I had such a happy moment as I do right now” and she gave me a big hug and kiss. Mrs. Stull will always be one of those special memories in my life. It’s funny as I write this, I can hear her voice in her pleasant but concerned tone aimed at Tom for bringing in the Rolling Stones album called “Sticky Fingers”….lol.

My warmest thoughts and a special prayer goes to her for all she did for me.
Ronald Fichthorn
August 2, 2011
i miss you very much grandma jean. i love you
Isabel Burden
August 2, 2011
To Jean's family and to my friend Martha
Was sorry to learn of the passing of your mother and sister. She was a great person. Our thought's and prayers are with you at this time.
Clarence & Marlene Kibbe
August 2, 2011
dear david,
so sorry for your loss.she helped me out several times with bird questions!!! may God bless her and you at this time.
with love in Christ,
lisa brown
lisa brown
August 2, 2011
It was an honor to know Jean and I always looked forward to seeing her out on the birding trails. Her artwork was awesome and her sense of humor sublime. I once told her I considered her a goddess, and she just giggled at me! I will miss Jean greatly.
Suzanne Winterberger
August 1, 2011
So sorry for your loss, what a great lady. I had Jean as a art teacher and attend a few of her art shows she was so talented and will be greatly missed.
Susan Briggs-Butler
August 1, 2011
Sam, Toby and family, how fortunate I was to be embraced with a smile when I arrived at Presque Isle in the mid 90's. Her friendship was one I cherished as she encouraged me with enthusiasm through the years I spent there. Never refused a favor or the chance to get out in the field, binoculars in tow and overwhelming excitement to see the most common or rarest species. Now, she finally has the chance to fly with the avian friends she tenderly cared for and so dearly loved. Somehow I know the migrations will come and Jean will be there, band on her ankle, song in her voice and wearing the most beautiful of coats. Bless you all, Naturalist Randy Neyer
Randy Neyer
August 1, 2011
I had the privilege of teaching with Jean at Ft. LeBoeuf and will always remember her as a kind, lovely lady. My sympathy to all her family.
Marion Bennett
August 1, 2011
Sam and Barb, I am sorry to read of Jeans passing. I had helped with the sale of a house she was executrix for many years ago. Sincere sympathy.
Mary Lou Wittman
August 1, 2011
To the extraordinary and inspiring teacher who gave me the guidance to draw and to appreciate nature. You taught me the word "shmultzy" and "original" and those words will forever be in mind when the pencils or paints are in my hands. So sad to hear this news, our sympathy goes out to the family and friends who were touched by your life. I know mine will always be.
Julie Gocal (Fialkowski)
August 1, 2011
It was an honor to have known your Mom. God bless her and your family. Brian Berchtold
August 1, 2011
Peggy Stull
August 1, 2011
Peggy Stull
August 1, 2011
Toby, Sam & Barb, David & Charlene & Miriam....While I am sorry to hear of Aunt Jean's passing, I am thankful she is not suffering. I am so sorry for your loss. She surely has left a legacy behind, she taught me a lot about love of nature, and love in general. I adored her :o) She was my favorite relative of Brian's. Prayers and hugs. Peggy
Peggy Stull
August 1, 2011
Our condolences to Jean's family and friends. She was an amazing women and we will miss her greatly.
Frank and Cheryl Zalik, and the staff of Wild Birds Unlimited
August 1, 2011
Martha and family.Sorry to read of Jean Louise passing.She accomplished great things in her life.With sympathy,Nancy Dorman-Tarbell/Swanson
nancy Swanson
August 1, 2011
Our Art instructor in high school, and a great friend to everyone she met. We were friends of her family and great admirers of her artwork. She will be greatly missed. Jim and Dorothy (Allen) Barton
Jim & Dorothy Barton
August 1, 2011
Mrs. Stull Cunningham was an inspiration to everyone. It was a privilege to be one of her students at Fort Le Boeuf.
Marcia Amsler Shipley
August 1, 2011
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
Dave & Cindy Tavernese
August 1, 2011
Sam and Barb, Sorry for your loss. Denise Hudson
Denise Hudson
August 1, 2011
To David and Charlene,
I am so sorry for your loss. She was a great lady. I'm sure you will miss her greatly. You will be in our thoughts and prayers. God bless you.
Brenda Williams
August 1, 2011
sorry about your loss jean was my art teacher ,and well liked.michelle overton(daley)
August 1, 2011
Mrs. Stull (Jean) inspired all of us to fulfill the artist within us. As a student at Fort LeBoeuf High School, I still have the one and only painting I ever attemped and yet won an honorable mention in our school art show. Class of 1962. My heartfelt sympathy to her family. May she rest in peace.
Loretta (Lori) SanFrotello
August 1, 2011
So sorry to read about Jean's passing. She was my. college roommate at Edinboro. She was a fine person in all ways. My thoughts are with her sons and family. Jane Venman Cryder
Jane Venman Cryder
August 1, 2011
I am so grateful to have experienced the presence if this truly great lady. My heart goes out to her wonderful family.
I must believe she will be born up on eagles wings, made to shine like the sun, and be held like a bird in the hand of God.
Peggy Brace
August 1, 2011
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