By Tammy Moore Teague
“This is Jim Cunningham” his cheerful voice resounded over the phone. Cunningham was the go-to banker for most everyone in Southern Sebastian County. It was a big part of who he was, yet he was so much more. He was a fixture in the Mansfield/Huntington Community, and to his wife and son, their world.
Our community, Cunningham’s friends and family experienced a monumental loss when he passed away, Saturday, June 30, 2018. He left behind an amazing legacy.
Cunningham was born on March 7, 1965 to Betty and Charlie Cunningham. He attended Waldron Elementary School through third grade, then moved to Mansfield where he graduated high school. He began working at the Bank of Mansfield in 1983. He furthered his education at Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University in 1994. In 2004, Cunningham moved to Farmers Bank where he served as Vice President.
He married his high school sweetheart, Francie on September 14, 1984. More than a decade later the couple had a son, Alex. He was born on May 4, 1996. “Jim was extremely proud of Alex,” added Francie Cunningham. “He felt like Alex was his greatest accomplishment in life.”
Cunningham had a niche for working with numbers and people. It’s what made him so good at his job. He truly cared about his customers, and was an amazing co-worker and friend to all. Farmers Bank President Ed Wilkinson said “I have never been closer to another person outside my family than with Jim Cunningham. I feel tremendous loss. Keeping Jim’s family and friends in my prayers.“ Shelia Carson, who worked with Cunningham at the Bank of Mansfield, said “I enjoyed working with Jim at Bank of Mansfield for 17 years, it was almost like working with my brother as he and my brother were good friends. I know I sure miss him as do so many in our community.”
In addition to his work with the local banks, Cunningham was also heavily involved with the Chamber of Commerce. “I cannot imagine putting together a Christmas parade without him,” Mansfield Chamber member Beverly Lyons said. “Jim always worked our Christmas parades. He signed up the floats and people in the parade. It will be a challenge this year, without him. He was also a member of the Lions Club, a former board member of Mansfield Schools, a veteran of the Huntington Fire Department, and little league baseball coach.
In 2009 Cunningham made the most important decision of his life. He accepted Christ as his Savior and was baptized at Fellowship Baptist Church in Witcherville. It was at this same church that family, friends and loved ones filled to capacity as they paid respect to his wife, son and mother-in-law, Judy Presson. “Jim and my mom loved each other so much and they were very close,” added Francie Cunningham.
It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to feature Cunningham in our Hometown Highlight. His memory will continue to live on through those who love him. Friends like Phil Hicks, summed it best by adding “Jim was the kind of person we should all be. He loved his God, he loved his family, he loved his community. Always there to lend a hand or an ear. Always had a smile on his face. Such a good friend! Jim Cunningham, you my friend are a good man.”
If you would like to nominate someone to be featured in our Hometown Highlight, you can email us here.