Sonya Coleen Smith Cunningham, 84, of Springfield, Mo., passed away Oct. 30, 2022. Sonya was born Aug. 6, 1938, to Grover C. and Artie Felton Smith in Gamaliel, Ark. Losing her parents at a young age and surviving polio, among other adversities, molded her into a strong, selfless individual. She lived a full life, always focused on family and church. She was still leading an active life, teaching Sunday school, playing dominoes with friends and constantly caring for others.
Mrs. Cunningham was very active in high school, participating in the junior/senior play, FHA and cheerleading. She served in leadership roles in FHA and was a cheerleader, homecoming attendant, co-editor of the senior yearbook and winner of the Covert Award her senior year.
Shortly after graduation from Houston High School in 1956, she married her high school sweetheart, Charles “Charlie” Cunningham, on April 22, 1957. They spent the first years of their marriage in Wichita, Kan., where they were blessed with their first-born son, David. They later moved to Springfield, Mo., where they expanded their family with two more sons, Randy and James “Jim.” Springfield would remain their home, where they planted roots at Galloway Baptist Church, making lifetime friends. Sonya was a member and served faithfully for over 55 years, singing in the choir and teaching Sunday school.
Mrs. Cunningham focused on being a homemaker and mother until the boys started school, and then became an executive assistant, and later agent, for Bankers Life and Casualty. In the late 1980s, she and Charlie formed Cunningham Masonry. After retirement she worked part-time for Springfield Public Schools in dietary services. Not too long ago you may have seen her smiling face working as a cashier at Hobby Lobby.
Church and family were always central in her life. Her family has many fond memories of family get-togethers, holiday gatherings and weekends at the lake, camping, fishing and water skiing.
Mrs. Cunningham was preceded in death by her parents; husband; sisters, Mary Lou Cook June Dawson and Leta Forbes; and brothers, Bob Smith and Alfred Smith.
She is survived sons, David, Randy, and Jim; five grandchildren; and three great grandchildren.
Funeral services were Monday, Nov. 7, at Klinger-Cope Family Funeral Home at Rivermonte, Springfield. A graveside service followed at Old Galloway Cemetery.