Long time Crawford rancher, Harold Cunningham, age 92, of Hotchkiss, Colorado died May 12, 2022 from dementia at the Willow Tree Care Center in Delta, Colorado having lived his life with the belief that "My word is my bond."
As per his request, cremation has occurred and graveside services will be held
on Saturday, May 21, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. at the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Crawford, Colorado with Inurnment to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations in Harold's memory can be made to HopeWest Hospice, P. O. Box 24, Delta, CO 81416 or a charity of your choice.
Harold was born on November 21, 1929 in Jefferson Township, Ringgold County, Iowa, the second child of seven born to Cleatus and Mildred A. (Culbertson) Cunningham. He spent his childhood near and attended school in Shannon City Iowa. Harold joined the U. S. Coast Guard on November 28, 1947 serving until being honorably discharged on January 17, 1950 on a hardship waiver due to his younger brother contacting polio.
On April 14, 1951, Harold married the love of his life, Phyllis Joann "Jo" Cunningham at Mt. Ayr, Iowa. They recently celebrated 71 years of marriage. To this union, three sons were born: John E. Cunningham, James "Jay" Cunningham and Jerry L. Cunningham.
Despite his prior service with the U. S. Coast Guard, just after he was married, he was drafted into the U. S. Army serving from April 25, 1951 until January 27, 1953 including a year fighting in the Korean Conflict.
Following his discharge, he attended Farm School on the GI Bill and then teamed up with Jo to farm and raise their boys in the Shannon City area of Iowa. In 1962, Jo's asthma dictated a move to a dryer climate, so they replaced their Iowa farm with a ranch on Missouri Flats near Crawford, Colorado where they originally raised Hereford cattle, followed by a three year stint raising sheep before a return to the cattle business with the Beefmaster breed. To supplement their ranching endeavors, Harold drove school bus from September 1963 through May 1979. He served on the Crawford Water Conservancy District Board for 16 years and the Delta County ASCS Board for 17 years as well as being a ditch rider for the Needle Rock Ditch for over thirty years.
After leasing the ranch to Jay and Pauline, they moved to Willow Heights in Hotchkiss in 1995. Even after leasing the ranch, Harold continued to spend summers helping with the irrigating and haying on the place until his declining health forced his full retirement.
Harold was a member of the American Legion Post 190 in Crawford, the Lee Marts VFW Post 3571 Post 9333 in Hotchkiss, the Elk's Lodge 1807 in Hotchkiss and the Delta County Livestock Association. In 2003, he was recognized by the DCLA for his work in the
livestock industry with a Lifetime Service Award.
In his leisure time, Harold enjoyed calling square dances, dancing, fishing, and traveling to Ireland as well as visiting family from Washington to Georgia and places in between. After semi-retiring, Harold and Jo wintered in Apache Junction, Arizona for 15 years where he won several shuffleboard tournaments. His favorite food was ice cream and Jo's pies.
Harold is survived by his wife, Jo, of Hotchkiss; sons John (Marlyse) and Jay (Pauline) of Crawford; and Jerry (Linda "Pete") of Delta, his sister, Audrey (Charles Boye) Jeter of Omaha, NE; brothers, Ronald Cunningham of Chesapeake, VA; Richard Cunningham of Creston, IA; and David (Connie) Cunningham of Afton, IA. In addition he is survived by seven grandchildren, thirteen great-grandchildren and 2 great-great-granddaughters.
He was predeceased by his parents, his brother Floyd, his brother Donald "Donnie" and his granddaughter, Kimberly Cunningham.
Arrangements are under the care and direction of Taylor Funeral Service & Crematory.
View the internet obituary and sign the online guest registry at taylorfuneralservice.com