Wil­liam Cun­ning­ham, com­mu­ni­ca­tions ex­pert

Baltimore Sun - - OBITUARIES - — Fred­er­ick N. Ras­mussen

Wil­liam K. Cun­ning­ham III, a re­tired com­mu­ni­ca­tions ex­pert who en­joyed horse­back rid­ing, died of com­pli­ca­tions from de­men­tia Oct. 5 at Manor Care Rux­ton. He was 79.

The son of Wil­liam K. Cun­ning­ham Jr., a McLean Con­tract­ing Co. ex­ec­u­tive, and Miriam Cun­ning­ham, a homemaker, Wil­liam King Cun­ning­ham III was born in Bal­ti­more and raised in Hamil­ton. He then moved with his fam­ily to a small farm in the Wor­thing­ton Valley.

He was a 1955 grad­u­ate of Tow­son High School, then served in an artillery unit of the Mary­land Na­tional Guard.

He went to work as a line­man for the old Ch­e­sa­peake & Po­tomac Tele­phone Co., then be­came a tele­phone in­staller. He was later pro­moted to in­stalling PBX sys­tems.

For about 15 years, Mr. Cun­ning­ham over­saw com­mu­ni­ca­tions at the old Me­mo­rial Sta­dium dur­ing Bal­ti­more Colts and Ori­oles games.

He re­tired in the 1990s from Lu­cent Tech­nolo­gies and con­tin­ued work­ing for about another 15 years at what is now the Univer­sity of Mary­land St. Joseph Med­i­cal Cen­ter as a pri­vate con­trac­tor main­tain­ing the hos­pi­tal’s com­mu­ni­ca­tion system.

His in­ter­est in horse­back rid­ing be­gan in his youth when he rode the Mid-At­lantic steeplechase cir­cuit and com­peted in many races in­clud­ing the Mary­land Grand Na­tional and the Vir­ginia Cup.

Fam­ily mem­bers said in one race, he was aboard a horse owned by the Mel­lon bank­ing fam­ily of Pitts­burgh, and in the mid­dle of a jump the horse suf­fered a heart at­tack. Mr. Cun­ning­ham was thrown from his sad­dle and the horse crashed on top of him. He es­caped se­ri­ous in­jury.

“The in­ci­dent gained him no­to­ri­ety among his peers,” said a son, Pa­trick Cun­ning­ham of Park­ton.

The former Tow­son res­i­dent moved to the com­mu­nity of Bor­ing, where he spent many hours rid­ing and jump­ing ob­sta­cles aboard a thor­ough­bred named Harry. He also par­tic­i­pated in fox hunt­ing with the Green Spring Valley Hounds. He also en­joyed wood­work­ing. He was a found­ing mem­ber of the Church of the Res­ur­rec­tion, an Angli­can church con­gre­ga­tion at 11525 Green­spring Ave., Lutherville, where a me­mo­rial ser­vice will be held at 1 p.m. Oct. 22.

In ad­di­tion to his son, Mr. Cun­ning­ham is sur­vived by his wife of 56 years, the former Barbara Jones; another son, Christo­pher Cun­ning­ham of Bar­ton, in Al­le­gany County; his step­mother, Mary Elaine Cun­ning­ham of Ti­mo­nium; and five grand­chil­dren.

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