Col. Patrick J. Cunningham served in the U.S. Army for three decades. His distinguished military career encompassed serving in the Vietnam War, as well as several positions at the Pentagon, including overseeing the Army Budget, assignments at Ft. Bragg, Ft. Bliss, Ft. Leavenworth, and across the globe, from Korea to Worms, Germany and Orleans, France. Col. Cunningham received numerous awards for his military service, including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal and Army Commendation Medal.
Col. Cunningham retired as a Colonel from Ft. Benjamin Harrison in Indiana where he served in the post of Chief of Staff. In 1989, he and his wife, Sheila, moved back home to Buffalo to be closer to family. Col. Cunningham started his second career as Executive Director at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park. Under his leadership, he improved the visitor experience and increased attendance.
In addition to being dedicated to his career, Col. Cunningham was an active volunteer in the American Society of Military Comptrollers, Military Officers’ Association of America and Boy Scouts. He was also a proud referee for high school football and basketball games, as well as an umpire for little league baseball.
Col. Cunningham graduated from Canisius College in 1959 with a degree in sociology and a commission in the Army. He earned his MBA from Syracuse University.
Col. Cunningham passed away in March 2017 from a respiratory illness, due in part to his exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. He is survived by five children and 14 grandchildren. He dedicated his entire life to the service of his country and family, offering the best of himself, the gift of his example, and a legacy of service and integrity.