Walter Marvin Cunningham, 70 years old, died on January 15, 2023, in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. He was born on December 23, 1952, in Landstuhl, Germany, to Charles Leonard Cunningham and June Brown. He grew up in Alaska, and was living in Anchorage at the time of the 9.2 Alaska earthquake in March 1964, which destroyed his family’s restaurant. The family then moved to Soldotna on the Kenai Peninsula. In 1970 he represented the State of Alaska at the American Legion’s Boys State and Boys Nation. At the age of 18 he joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and later served in the France-Belgium mission.

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He worked in construction of the Alaska Pipeline, fought forest fires for the BLM, and worked as a commercial fisherman. He served in the U.S. Air Force, where he attended the Defense Language Institute learning Spanish and became a Voice Processing Specialist, or linguist. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Cartography. He worked for many years as a land surveyor, and became an Associate Professor at Salt Lake Community College, where he headed the Land Surveying and Mapping program. He was a member of the Utah Council of Land Surveyors, and received the Surveyor of the Year award in 2006 and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.

He married Shauna Buchanan in 1979; they later divorced. He married Ronda Read on April 9, 1988, in the Jordan River Temple in South Jordan, Utah. He served in many Church positions, including Primary music director, Primary and Sunday School teacher, scout leader, and stake executive secretary. He is survived by his wife Ronda Cunningham; his children Celeste, Jeremiah (Adriana Susana), James (Heather Mathiesen), Charity, Nathan (Valerie), and Matthew; his brother Charles; his sisters Carol Cunningham and Janay Clanton; 16 grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter. He is preceded in death by his parents and his brother Ralph.

He loved chess, history, movies, ice cream, road trips, the outdoors, and especially his children and grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Walter M. Cunningham Education Foundation at wmcef.org or ucls.org.

Funeral service will be held on Saturday, January 28, 2023, at 11:00 a.m., at the Greenfield chapel, 6634 S. Greenfield Way, Cottonwood Heights, UT 84121. The service can be watched remotely by visiting his obituary page at MemorialUtah.com. A viewing will be held one hour prior to the service, and also on Friday, January 27, 2023, from 5:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Memorial Holladay-Cottonwood Mortuary, 4670 S. Highland Dr., Holladay, UT 84117. Interment will be at Memorial Lake Hills Cemetery, 10055 S. State Street, Sandy, UT 84070.

Services

Services Handled By

Memorial Holladay-Cottonwood Mortuary
4670 Highland Dr
Salt Lake City, UT

Life Story Info

Post Date

Jan 20, 2023

Personal Info

Age

70
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Guestbook

I am so sorry to hear of Walt's passing!

Working with Walt was one of the pleasures of teaching at Salt Lake Community College. He did an absolutely fabulous job running the Surveying Program and teaching in it. He was deeply respected by his students, the college community and the professional land surveyors. He was a joy to be around. I thank you, Walt for our friendship!

Lee Brinton , Murray, UT, US Jan 24, 2023

I was sad to hear about Walt's passing. He was such a wonderful professor. I loved watching him with his students. You could clearly see his passion. Thank you for the time that we at SLCC got to spend with him.

Jessica Berryman Jan 24, 2023

I was sad to hear about Walt's passing. He was such a wonderful professor. I loved watching him with his students. You could clearly see his passion. Thank you for the time that we at SLCC got to spend with him.

Jessica Berryman Jan 24, 2023

The students at SLCC loved taking classes with Walt. His enthusiasm was contagious.

My thoughts and prayers go to the family. May memories ease the pain of loss.

Jeanne Westgard , Salt Lake City, UT, US Jan 24, 2023

The students at SLCC loved taking classes with Walt. His enthusiasm was contagious.

My thoughts and prayers go to the family. May memories ease the pain of loss.

Jeanne Westgard , Salt Lake City, UT, US Jan 24, 2023

I was so sad to hear about Walt's passing. I was a colleague of Walts in the math department and I remember how much he loved talking to me about trigonometry. I was sad when he retired because his enthusiasm for teaching was infectious. I have a friend in the surveying world and he always would talk about Walt the Legend. I can see you surveying heaven right now!

Suzanne Mozdy Jan 24, 2023

Rhonda and family I don’t know if you remember me but my family and I lived on Heatherglen and we were in your ward. About 30 years ago.. I will always remember how sweet your family was to us. Walt was an amazing man very soft spoken and kind.. I’m so sorry to read he has passed away and I pray you will have peace and comfort in the coming days. ❤️

Lori Thomas , Taylorsville , UT, US Jan 21, 2023

Yes, I remember you well. You were good neighbors and friends. Thanks for your kind thoughts about Walt and our family.

Ronda Cunningham , Cottonwood Heights, UT, US Jan 21, 2023

Yes, I remember you well. You were good neighbors and friends. Thanks for your kind thoughts about Walt and our family.

Ronda Cunningham , Cottonwood Heights, UT, US Jan 21, 2023

Yes, I remember you well. You were good neighbors and friends. Thanks for your kind thoughts about Walt and our family.

Ronda Cunningham , Cottonwood Heights, UT, US Jan 21, 2023

Rhonda and family I don’t know if you remember me but my family and I lived on Heatherglen and we were in your ward. About 30 years ago.. I will always remember how sweet your family was to us. Walt was an amazing man very soft spoken and kind.. I’m so sorry to read he has passed away and I pray you will have peace and comfort in the coming days. ❤️

Lori Thomas , Taylorsville , UT, US Jan 21, 2023

Rhonda and family I don’t know if you remember me but my family and I lived on Heatherglen and we were in your ward. About 30 years ago.. I will always remember how sweet your family was to us. Walt was an amazing man very soft spoken and kind.. I’m so sorry to read he has passed away and I pray you will have peace and comfort in the coming days. ❤️

Lori Thomas , Taylorsville , UT, US Jan 21, 2023

Rhonda and family I don’t know if you remember me but my family and I lived on Heatherglen and we were in your ward. About 30 years ago.. I will always remember how sweet your family was to us. Walt was an amazing man very soft spoken and kind.. I’m so sorry to read he has passed away and I pray you will have peace and comfort in the coming days. ❤️

Lori Thomas , Taylorsville , UT, US Jan 21, 2023

You will be very much missed, Love you, little brother.

Charles Cunningham, III , Soldotna, AK, US Jan 20, 2023

Timeline


  • 2020
  • Jan 23, 2023

    Walt was an exceptional advocate for education. He had a great love for knowledge and a desire for his students to succeed. I could feel that he cared for the welfare for female students to excel and thrive in the sciences. Grateful to have known him.