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William Joseph “Bill/Billie” Cunningham, 9/15/1958 – 10/21/23



Bill Cunningham

William Joseph “Bill/Billie” Cunningham, Jr., 65 years old, departed this realm in a tragic drowning accident and his body was recovered October 21, 2023. Bill was born on September 15, 1958, at Washington D. C. and spent his first 10 years in Wheaton, Maryland. His family moved to Mississippi in 1969. He graduated from Warren Central High School and the University of Southern Mississippi. Before becoming a full-time educator, Bill had worked on tugboats along the Mississippi River, as a food prepper at high end restaurants, as reforestation technician in Oregon and had served in the Coast Guard in the 1980’s.

Bill taught school in Mississippi and Guadalajara, Mexico before his employment with San Diego Unified School District. He was beginning his 30th year of teaching at the time of his death.

Bill was preceded in death by his father, William Joseph Cunningham, Sr. and two younger siblings: Marjorie Anne Cunningham and John Paul Cunningham. He is survived by his beloved son, Sean Conor “Joey” Cunningham (San Diego); his mother, Mary Cunningham Davis and her husband, John “Dave” Davis (Monroe, Louisiana), older sister, Mary Katherine Stickroth (Lincoln, Montana) and younger siblings, Irene Marie Cunningham (Ocean Springs, Mississippi), Joseph Lafayette Cunningham (Huntington, West Virginia), and Carolyn Virginia Lee (Vicksburg, Mississippi).

Many nieces and nephews enjoy swapping stories of the adventures “Uncle Bill” led for them, such as canoeing, rappelling, scuba diving and martial arts. Bill also leaves behind close friends Darla Muirhead (Joey’s mother) and Kathy Meek, as well as a large community of other friends and coworkers.

Mostly, Bill endeared himself to students and their parents in Calexico and San Diego. As a coach, he pushed team members to be their best. As a special education teacher, he advocated for his students that they would have the best opportunities to advance their education. As an English teacher, his animated stories of his personal adventures brought life to literature and the craft of writing which his students were studying.

Bill’s favorite activities were fitness courses (“You have to be in peak condition in order to serve,” he often said) and open water swimming. His life ended in the waters along La Jolla Shores, a place that he loved the most. “The water is my home,” he once told his big sister.

A memorial service will be on Saturday, December 9, 2023, in the chapel at Glenwood Funeral Home with Rev. Roger Cresswell officiating. Visitation will be 1:00 P.M. till the hour of the service. Burial will follow in Greenlawn Gardens Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be made to the Autism Society of San Diego (

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