Forest Lawn Cemetery, Beaumont, TX.
Catherine Mary Fitzgerald Cunningham (“Kate”), 101, passed away Tuesday, May 29, 2018, at her home in Galveston, Texas. Kate was born on February 15, 1917, to Harry James and Clara Elvira (Guyette) Fitzgerald in Manchester, New Hampshire. She was the second oldest of seven children (Elizabeth, Catherine, Johnny, Ruth, Edna, Anna, Harry). Kate and her family boarded a ship in New York bound for their new home in Galveston, arriving in May, 1927. She attended Ursuline Academy in Galveston and graduated as Salutatorian in the Class of 1933. After graduation, Kate landed a job as a cashier at the Galveston Woolworth’s, followed by a position in the Federal Government, serving at Fort Crockett as an administrative coordinator. On a business trip to Galveston in 1948, Joseph Henry Cunningham (“Joe”) met Kate at Fort Crockett; they were married on November 29, 1952, in St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, followed by a reception in the Palm Room at the Hotel Galvez in Galveston. The newlyweds moved to Beaumont, TX, where Joe ran his own business, Cunningham Engineering Co. After her children (Kathryn, Michael, Nancy) were young adults, Kate returned to work for the Federal Government and retired after a total of 25 years of service. Always one to stay busy, Kate continued to volunteer at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital gift shop, an opportunity for her to bring cheer to the patients, and to shower her granddaughters with numerous gifts. A few years after Joe’s death, Kate returned to Galveston to live nearer to her sisters, daughters and grandchildren.
Kate was a devout Catholic and faithfully attended St. Patrick’s Church regularly. She was an exemplary mother, raising her three children with smiles, a loving spirit and fun in her heart; she always emphasized that they be all that they could be. She especially adored being a grandmother, and then a great grandmother. Kate was an expert bowler, played a mean game of Canasta and Bridge, and could talk up a storm. On her sister Ruth’s birthday in 2002, Kate and her sisters Ruth, Liz, and Anna, all in their 80s, spent the entire night awake and talking, and were hoarse the next morning. Shopping was also one of Kate’s passions, and she could outlast even her granddaughters in pursuit of the best deal!
Kate is survived by sister, Anna Fitzgerald Kaiser, of Galveston; daughter, Dr. Kathryn Ann Cunningham and spouse Randy Lee Carey of Galveston; son, Michael Anthony Cunningham and spouse Charlotte Maxey Cunningham of Beaumont, TX; daughter, Nancy Cunningham Young and spouse Clarence Earl Young of Santa Fe, TX; grandchildren, Cheyanne Elizabeth Young and spouse Christopher Austin Plummer of Tomball, TX; Cathryn Angelica Young of Santa Fe, TX; Meredith Lynd McMurray and spouse Thomas Wade McMurray of Beaumont, TX; great grandchildren Hallie Elizabeth Young of Tomball and Clare Annabelle McMurray of Beaumont; and numerous relatives, including niece Valerie Kaiser Helms and spouse Ray Michael Helms, La Marque, TX.
Very special thanks go to all the wonderful staff at Concord Assisted Living, to include, but not limited to Judy, Kim, Velmashia, Diane, Wanda and, also, Dr. Erin Hommel for the wonderful care afforded to Kate over the years.
Kate’s family will receive visitors beginning at 9:00 am, Friday, June 1, at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Galveston. Funeral mass will begin at 10:00 am at St. Patrick’s. Graveside service will be 3:00 pm Friday at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Beaumont, TX.