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John Davis Cunningham
October 17, 1944 ~ April 13, 2023 (age 78) 78 Years Old
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John Davis Cunningham, 78, left this world too soon on April 13, 2023. He is survived by his three children, daughter, Charlene and son-in-law Ronnie Reyes, daughter, LaDonna and son-in-law Benny House, and son, John and daughter-in-law Angie Cunningham; 8 grandchildren, Christina and Chris Thomas, Courtney Reyes and Desmond Perry, KayLene House, Kori House, Kamron House, Breanna and James Schaeffer, Brandee Cunningham, and John Read Cunningham; 6 great grandchildren, Cylee Thomas, Codee Thomas, AddyStyn Allison, Kaydn Watrus, Penelope House, and Everlee Nixon. His grandchildren and great grandchildren were his world and spending time with them was the greatest happiness of his life. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews. John was blessed with some great friends in his lifetime as well. John was preceded in death by his parents John and Ruth Cunningham, his sister, Margaret Cunningham, and his loving wife, Charlotte.
John was born in Raton, NM to John Kerr and Ruth Virginia Cunningham on October 17, 1944. As a toddler, John was run over and dragged by a car while playing at his home. He and his parents were told that he’d never walk again after fracturing a large percentage of the bones in his body. Obviously, that was not to be, as he was tough as nails and strong as an ox. John grew up understanding the importance of integrity and hard work. During high school, John would go work in the coal mines in the early morning and then go to class. He graduated from Raton High School in 1962 and then married Charlotte Grace Read in 1963. He and Charlotte created a life together and loved one another through the good times and the bad until Charlotte passed in 2018.
After his wedding, John soon joined the Navy and served on the Naval ship USS Lenawee during the Vietnam War. He received the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for Service in Vietnam and a Good Conduct Medal. When he came home from war, he served as a Correctional Officer at the Eagle’s Nest Boys Ranch and then joined the New Mexico State Police in 1970. His first NMSP station was Orogrande, NM. In 1974, John was shot and wounded during a call in that small little town. Not long after healing from that, he transferred from patrol to the NMSP Narcotics Division. John was a leader in narcotics enforcement and made a significant impact in this community and surrounding areas. He retired from the State Police in 1993 and went to work for the 12th Judicial District Attorney’s office as an investigator for several years. John was a member of the AARP, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, a longstanding member of the American Legion NM Post 34. He donated monthly to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital because he firmly believed those kids needed that help. He was also a longstanding member of the National Rifle Association and believed strongly enough in their cause that he always offered to others that he would pay their membership dues as well.
John was an avid outdoorsman and he loved to hunt, fish, and hang out in camp with family and friends. He also loved sports and played, coached, managed, and spectated many youth and men’s sports throughout his life. He managed several successful teams including a National Champion American Legion baseball team, a National Champion men’s Fastpitch team, the XPress, and traveled all over the country playing, managing, and supporting many teams. He was always at whatever volleyball or basketball court, football, baseball, or softball field, rodeo arena, or livestock showing his grandkids were at. You could especially find him at the Lady Tigers Fastpitch games supporting his family and rarely ever missed a game in the entire program’s existence. Although tragic, it was fitting that he was doing exactly that when he left this world. John had a big soul, a big heart, and if you knew him, you knew he enjoyed having a good time. He was generous, loyal, and honest to a fault. He would speak his mind freely and didn’t back down from the tough times. He was a devoted Papa to his family and enjoyed spending as much time with them as he could. As a Dad, Papa, and great Papa, he was the most loving and understanding man you could ever find and he will be missed so deeply.
John’s wishes were to be cremated and his ashes laid to rest with Charlotte’s. He specifically wished that his family and friends would celebrate him when he passed.
A celebration of his life will be held at 5:30 pm, Wednesday, April 19, 2023, at the Alamogordo Funeral Home on First Street with Pastor Bill Garza officiating. We will celebrate John’s life there and then at his home afterward.
The Cunningham family has entrusted their loved one to the care of Alamogordo Funeral Home to direct the services.