Zora Louise Cunningham
1924 - 2005
Zora Louise Cunningham died on September 14, 2005. She was born to John Allen and Louise (Bentley) Killough October 20, 1924, in Stillwater, Oklahoma. She was a graduate of Duncan High School and attended Oklahoma University and Oklahoma State University before her marriage to Clell Ivor Cunningham, Jr., August 19, 1945 in Claremore, Oklahoma. She later received her B.A. in Education (1962) and her M.A. in Early Childhood Education (1971) at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colorado.
Clell and Zora’s first home after their marriage was Minturn, Colorado, where they taught high school. They lived in Central City and Eckley, Colorado, Stillwater and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Denver. Then, in 1955, they moved to Brighton, Colorado, where they lived until 2004. After getting her degree at Greeley, Zora helped to establish kindergarten in the Brighton public school system and taught kindergarten there for 22 years. In addition, she was instrumental in the establishment of Head Start and bilingual education in Brighton, and she led the first minority Camp Fire Girls Group. As part of her identity as a life-long Christian and Democrat, she actively supported changes to help bring about social justice. Again and again, she provided gracious support and attention to children in trouble, refugees, racial minorities; elderly, economically disadvantaged, and mentally ill persons; and other individuals and groups facing discrimination or neglect.
Zora loved family gatherings, talking with her kids and grandkids about school and work, church activities, attending plays, learning about space travel, going to book clubs, playing Upwords with Clell, traveling, and working on genealogy research. She served as both president and historian for the Killough Reunion Association, and she was a member of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.
She was proud of her 50-year membership at Brighton United Methodist Church, and she enjoyed attending Mayflower Congregational Church in Oklahoma City. She was sustained throughout her life by her very personal relationship with God.
In September, 2004, she moved from her home in Brighton to Southern Plaza in Bethany, Oklahoma, where she made many friends.
She is preceded in death by her parents, her husband, her brother John Allen Killough, her brother-in-law Joseph William Bowers, son John Barry Booth, and her granddaughter Darla Claire Dinkel. She is survived by her children: Catherine Louise Cray and husband Kevin, Denver, Colorado; Nance Killough Cunningham and husband Howard Stein, Oklahoma City: Marilyn Rose Casey and husband James, Banning, California; Clell Ivor Cunningham, III, Oklahoma City; and John Allen Cunningham, Cheyenne, Wyoming, Carl F. Walker, Phoenix, Arizona, and Joyce Ann Gerstenberger, Greeley; her grandchildren: Cinnamon Rose Dudley, Brian John Dinkel, Clayton Rathbun Cunningham, Kyle Louis Cunningham, Zack I. D. Cunningham, Drew Allen Cunningham, Zev Cunningham Stein, John Adrian Gerstenberger, Jacosa Jean Olson, and Christopher Olson; her great grand children: Zachariah Seth Dudley, Ian James Dudley, and Oriana Cai Gerstenberger; and her sisters and brother of Grove, Oklahoma: Julia Belle Bowers, Mary Carolyn Bullock and husband Charles, and William Arthur Killough and wife Charlotte.
Family visitation will be at Mercer-Adams Funeral Home in Bethany. Services will be September 17 at 1:30 p.m. at Mayflower Congregational Church at 3901 NW 63rd in Oklahoma City. Memorial services will also be held at Brighton United Methodist Church in Colorado.
Many thanks to the residents and staff of Southern Plaza for their many kindnesses, and to the staffs of Frontier Hospice, First Call, and Noval Senior Care for their compassionate service.
Memorial contributions may be sent to Church World Service, the American Pain Foundation, or the Denver Center for Performing Arts.
Zora Killough Cunningham, Killough Family Historian
at Killough Monument - 2003
As well as being former Killough Reunion Association President and Killough family historian (1989-2005), she was also the compiler of the 1997 edition of the Killough genealogy book, "The Killough/Kellough Family in Ireland, Canada, and The United States."