Military veteran

Oscar Benjamin Cunningham, 84, died Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011.

He was born July 2, 1927, near Oakside, son of Pastor Silas and Della Davis Cunningham. He and Gladys Elaine Reese were married Jan. 3, 1946.

He gave his life to the Lord under his father’s ministry in November 1953 at Oakside Church. He was 26 years old. He answered the call to preach in 1954 while living in Galesburg, Ill.

He began home missions in Ava in November 1956. He served with the American Sunday School Missions for more than 43 years, organizing Sunday schools, teaching vacation bible school and preaching many revivals.

He and his wife built, owned and directed the Camp J-O-Y Bible Camp near Ava. It has been in operation for more than 40 years. They hosted 21 trips to the Bible Lands and preached in nine foreign countries on mission trips.

He gave up camp work due to his health and moved to Springfield. He was a Sunday school teacher at Seminole Baptist Temple.

He served in the Navy during World War II. He graduated from Thomas Road Bible Academy in Lynchburg, Va.

He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister.

Survivors include three children, Dewayne Cunningham, Barbara Chapman and Joyce Crumpley; 10 grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren.

Services were Tuesday, Aug. 9, at Seminole Baptist Temple in Springfield with the Rev. Reg Kelly and the Rev. Don Baier officiating. Burial was in Hazelwood under the direction of Bradford Funeral Home.

Online condolences may be left at

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