James Sylvester Cunningham, 95, of Columbia passed away May 14, 2020, at Columbia Post Acute.
Because of the current public health guidelines, a private family graveside service will be held at New Salem Cemetery in Ashland.
James was born May 4, 1925, near Ashland, the son of James W. and Cordelia Taylor Cunningham. He graduated from Ashland High School in 1943.
He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, serving on the USS Uvalde in the Pacific Theater and being awarded the Combat Action Ribbon, Philippine Liberation Medal and two Battle Stars. He was called back to service during the Korean War and was assigned to the Seabees (MCB-6). He was discharged at Brooklyn Navy Yard in August 1952 as a Chief Petty Officer.
He married Alva Jane Sappington on Aug. 9, 1947, in Ashland.
James retired from MFA Oil Company in 1990 as Secretary-Treasurer after 43 years of service.
He was a member of various Masonic organizations, Twilight Lodge #114, York Rite, Tiger Shrine, Moolah Shrine, Eastern Star, KYCH and others.
He was also a Life Member of the American Legion, VFW, Seabees of America, AMVETS and 40 & 8.
Other memberships include IOOF, Knights of Pythias, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Sons of Union Veterans, Sons of the American Revolution, First Families of Missouri, Ira P. Nash Chapter of the War of 1812, and he was proud to be a great-great-grandson of Ira P. Nash, one of the first settlers of Boone County prior to 1800.
He is survived by his wife, Alva of the home; granddaughter, Vivaca, and her husband, Chet Crowser, and three great-grandchildren, Arden, Nora and Holden Crowser, all of Missoula, Montana; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his daughter, Laurel Jane Cunningham Fuemmeler; and five brothers, Robert, Harold, Hartley, Lewis and twin John.
Suggested memorial gifts should be made to the New Salem Cemetery in Ashland; Boone County Historical Society, 3801 Ponderosa St.; and Columbia Senior Activity Center, 1121 Business Loop 70 E.
Arrangements are under the direction of Robinson Funeral Home in Ashland.