Elaine Cunningham exuded energy, enthusiasm and charm giving light and pleasure to all who met and knew her. She continually grew and maintained an extensive group of friends across multiple cities and states spanning all of her interests and activities. She was an accomplished singer and organist, executive secretary to leaders of BAM and the NYPL, voracious reader, devout member of her church and despite her vast accomplishments, Elaine above all was a humble, deeply caring and selfless person who will be profoundly missed by her family, friends and colleagues.
Elaine Cunningham was born in Kansas City, Missouri to Parker and Mabel Elizabeth. She moved to New York City immediately upon graduating from Beloit College to pursue her interest in drama and music.
Elaine was a busy organist and singer throughout her life. She served as the organist and music director of the Greenwood Baptist Church in Brooklyn, as organist for the Temple of Universal Judaism and assistant organist at Park Avenue Christian Church in Manhattan and All Saints Episcopal Church in Glen Rock, NJ. She was a member of the American Guild of Organists.
She sang at venues across New York City and New Jersey as a cabaret performer and as a professional choir singer with such organizations St. Luke's in the Fields, Park Avenue Christian, All Saints Episcopal, The National Chorale and the Florilegium Choir among many other venues.
Elaine held positions of executive secretary to Harvey Lichtenstein, President of the Brooklyn Academy of Music for 7 years and for 21 years to New York Public Library Presidents Timothy Healy and Paul LeClerc.
She was a member of The Seraphic Society of NY holding several leading positions on its various governance committees.
Elaine was a member of Park Avenue Christian Church, serving in numerous capacities including as its moderator. On moving to New Jersey, she joined All Saints Episcopal Church in Glen Rock acting as a member of the vestry, as founding co-chair of its annual concert series, as co-chair of its organ acquisition and installation committee and as a member of its Healing Prayer group.
Upon the death of her father in 1976 until that of her mother in 1999 Elaine assumed full responsibility for the support and eventual care of her mother spending all available time ensuring her mother's well-being in Elaine's home in Manhattan and at various New York adult and nursing facilities.
Elaine was an avid and voracious reader consuming multiple newspapers daily, belonging to multiple book groups and pursuing courses in religion and the ministry through the Episcopal Church and at General Theological Seminary.
She is survived by Wayne Plumer her husband of 33 years, cousins Norman and Harlan Higginbotham, Ruth Ann Gallagher, Lori Van Wagner, David Rintel and their children; Sharon and Steve Cunningham and their children and Bruce, Derald, Abigail, Sam and Ben Plumer.
A memorial service will be held at All Saints Episcopal Church of Glen Rock at 11 am Saturday, September 18. The memorial service will be broadcast via the All Saints Facebook page – The link to the live broadcast can be found at the Church website http://www.allsaintsglenrock.org/
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the following charities in Elaine's name. Doctors without Borders - https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/
Operation Smile -https://www.operationsmile.org/
Community Food Bank of New Jersey - https://cfbnj.org/
Published by Vander Plaat Funeral Home - Wyckoff on Oct. 7, 2021.