The mission of Don Cunningham began on January 29, 1942 when he was born to Wesley and Violet (Squiers) Cunningham in Brady, TX. He departed this earth on November 21, 2018 where he will live eternally in heaven. God’s unique design and providential path, along with the influence of his parents, family and community allowed him to live a profoundly impactful life--a life centered around integrity, humility, patience, wisdom, humor, virtue and faith.
Don grew up in Mason, TX where he developed a love of sports. It was soon apparent that he excelled in these, eventually earning a college scholarship to play baseball at San Angelo College. While this may not seem unusual, it was actually very significant as Don had contracted polio while in high school. This left him with an impairment resulting in limited mobility and compromised posture. In spite of this, living life according to his principles and foundations, caused him to stand taller than most.
Whether he was teaching, coaching or raising his family, Don always spoke clearly and with honesty. In his classic Texas drawl, he would dispense country wisdom in a way that would not only make perfect sense, but would often be quite humorous.
As an administrator at Liberty Hill ISD, Don pioneered a project to install the nation’s first sculpture park on a high school campus. This was so unique and successful that it garnered the attention of state and national news outlets. With all of this attention, Don was the first to admit that he knew very little about art and sculptures. When asked for his comment by a journalist on the topic, the reporter eagerly awaited his deep, philosophical reply. Don responded simply by saying “I don’t know what the big deal is over a pile of rocks.” He was never more uncomfortable than when attention was showered upon him. He exuded humility and never sought to be celebrated or to be the center of attention.
As a teacher and coach, Mr. C/Coach C often had students with challenging behaviors. He had a way of identifying with them each on an individual basis. Through his guidance and great patience, he was a master at helping students realize their true potential. Countless former students and colleagues have reported, “I would not be here/alive/in school/in church…were it not for the influence of Don Cunningham”.
Don made it his ambition to not only love his wife, Marie, with all his heart, but to love his Lord with all of his being. If there was only one way to define Don Cunningham, it would all boil down to faith. Our good God was the first thing on his mind when he woke in the morning and the last thing on his mind as he laid his head on his pillow at night. He taught this to all of his children, grandchildren, and to many of those he has touched. It was not active “teaching”; it was instruction through his actions.
Don loved to fish, hunt, and camp. One of his favorite activities was spending time around a campfire in meaningful conversation and contemplations. More than anything he loved his family. He was a devoted husband to Marie for 52 years. He delighted in the company of his grandkids and relished all time he was able to spend with his family.
It is truly a rare occurrence to know a person of such honorable reputation and gentle spirit--a person who made everyone with whom he interacted with feel as if they were the only person on earth who existed to him at that particular moment. His legacy extends across countless individuals.
Don was preceded in death by his parents and brother. He is survived by his wife, Marie Insall Cunningham, Leslie (Steve) Campbell, Robbi (Brantley) Hoelscher, and Corey (Stephanie) Cunningham; grandchildren Lindsay (Luke) Clement, Madison (Cooper Strand) Campbell, Erin Hoelscher, Garrett Hoelscher, Matthew Cunningham, Daniel Cunningham, Avery Hoelscher, Taylor Cunningham, Grace Cunningham, Timothy Cunningham, Jonathon Cunningham, David Cunningham; great-grandchildren Jackson Clement, Caleb Clement; “adopted” daughters Karen Luttinen Carey and Nicole Kummala; and countless other family and friends.
The family wishes to thank the exceptional caregivers at BSW STIC Unit in Temple for their provision of skilled, compassionate care.
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests donations to the Salado Education Foundation at P.O. Box 458, Salado, TX 76571 where a scholarship in the name of Don Cunningham will be established.
Salado Education Foundation
PO Box 458, Salado TX 76571