George Harold Cunningham, age 82, passed away Feb. 27, 2020 surrounded by family and friends at his home in Franklin, Tennessee.
George was born Feb. 2, 1938 and was raised in Quincy, Massachusetts. Growing up he developed his love for the ocean and sailing, learning to fly airplanes, working on cars and his love for music. He also learned from his parents the values of self-sufficiency, helping others and love of family. In 1958, at 20 years old, George joined the U.S. Navy and spent his 12 years of service primarily in Washington D.C. during the Vietnam War, as a performer (trumpet) in the U. S. Navy Band, Chief Bandmaster, musical conductor and Chief Instructor of Instrumental Music in the Armed Forces School of Music. He had the privilege to play taps for fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery, White House events and played at President JF Kennedy’s funeral. After his time in the Navy, he moved to Nashville where he used his talent in a range of capacities as an audio engineer/technician, as a professional union musician in local house bands, on national television (CMA’s and Hee-Haw), the Jack Daniel’s Silver Cornet Band and in recording sessions in Nashville. After retirement from music, George and Susan operated their family-owned computer company. In retirement he had more time for his passion for sailing and eventually building small wooden boats. George was also known for creating beautiful stain-glass art. Throughout his life, George loved animals and always had dogs, cats and horses. The most important aspect of George’s life was his family and friends from his life in Massachusetts, in the military, and in Nashville.
Preceded in death by his parents, Norman and Eugenia Cunningham. Survived by wife of 35 years, Susan Cunningham; daughters, Kelley (Byron) Bivens, Kimberly Ahern, Wanda Cunningham and Tamra Cunningham; sister, Marsha McNeice; brother, Norm “Skip” Cunningham; and grandchildren, Emmaline Grace Bivens and Olivia Brooke Bivens.
Funeral service will be held 11 a.m., Monday, March 2, 2020 at Williamson Memorial Funeral Home. Visitation will be 9:30-11 a.m. Monday prior to the service. Graveside service with military honors will be held 11 a.m., Wednesday, March 4, 2020 at Middle Tennessee Veterans Cemetery. Memorials may be made to Alive Hospice Nashville or Christ United Methodist Church in Franklin.
WILLIAMSON MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME & CREMATION SERVICES, 615-794-2289. www.williamsonmemorial.com