Dean Thomas Cunningham


Dean Thomas Cunningham, 74, passed away Nov. 30 ,2019, at his home in Roseville, Calif. He was born May 5, 1945, in Dixon, to John T. Cunningham, Jr. and Annabel (Stauffer) Cunningham.

Growing up in rural Polo, Dean was a 1962 graduate of Polo Community High School, attending National Science Foundation summer programs at three different colleges. Dean earned a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1966. Immediately following his graduation, he joined Union Carbide Corporation (Linde Division, Praxair) for a life-long career, retiring in 1999. His work was briefly interrupted in 1967-1969 by his Army military service; subsequent work assignments took him to both U.S. coasts, Geneva, Switzerland, and Milan, Italy. These changing locations inspired his retirement travels, cruising to and experiencing many different countries around the world with family and friends.

A life-long sports fan, Dean was an avid supporter of the UW Badgers and the Miami Dolphins. Living in California, he also found Bay Area pro teams to be entertaining and held season tickets for the Oakland Raiders. In his early retirement, he traveled to Arizona for MLB spring training. For many years, Dean played for the Sun City Roseville Sr Softball Club, relishing the activity, camaraderie, and their outstanding won-loss record! Dean's retirement also allowed him to pay closer attention to cultivating beautiful roses and Italian heirloom tomatoes. Still a little "farm boy" left in him!

Survivors include Dean's wife, Nancy; his daughters, Jennifer and Alyssa Cunningham (Chicago, area) and son Michael (Kathleen) Cunningham (Chicago and Lake Tahoe, Nev.); Nancy's son Christopher (Kathy) Derner, (Spanaway, Wash.) and daughter Kim (Veikko) Meilonen (Lockport, N.Y.); and five grandchildren: Michael (Gerilyn), Zachary (Melissa), Veikko, Megan, and Jenna. Also surviving are Dean's sisters: Carolyn Cunningham Hillsten (Ken), Orange, Texas and Sylvia Cunningham Howell (Thomas), West Lafayette, Ind.; and nephews Kevin (Catherine) Hillsten, Alex (Priscilla Goble) Howell and Tony (Allison) Howell. Dean was predeceased by his parents and two nieces: Denise Hillsten Taylor and Monica Elizabeth Howell.

Expressions of sympathy or condolences may be shared with the family through Polo Family Funeral Home: A hometown memory celebration may be scheduled in the spring. Any memorial contributions may be made in Dean's name/PCHS Class of 1962: Polo Community Schools Foundation, Polo Unit #222, 100 South Union Avenue, Polo, IL, 61064.