William Lee “Sonny” Cunningham, Jr. (79) of Monahans, Texas, passed away on Sunday, May 22, 2022, in nearby Pecos. He was born on May 17, 1943, in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma to William Lee Cunningham, Sr. and his wife Mary Anna (Pharriss).
Sonny grew up in Provencal, Louisiana with his mother, stepfather, four younger siblings, and lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins. They were a very close-knit family, and Sonny had wonderful memories of his idyllic childhood in the country. He graduated from Provencal High School in 1961 and moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth soon after.
Sonny worked as a printing pressman in DFW until 1980, then spent 18 years with Halliburton followed by several years as a long-haul driver for Swift. He spent his later years serving and entertaining folks at Ace Hardware in Monahans, where he retired only a few years ago.
Sonny was very active in his young children’s lives, serving as a coach for his sons’ sports teams and working with programs such as 4H and Boy Scouts. As a young man, he enjoyed canoeing and camping, and he loved the Davis Mountains, escaping there as often as he could. Sonny and his wife loved karaoke, though his kids admit that his enthusiasm might have exceeded his talent! He never met a stranger, and never passed up an opportunity to celebrate, commiserate, or debate as the mood struck him.
Sonny was a man who enjoyed being married, but bless his heart, it took him a while to get it just right! After three productive but unsuccessful marriages, he married the love of his life, Shirlee, in 1997. She was his reason for getting up each day, and he never recovered from her passing in 2020. As his health declined and dementia set in, he looked for her, wanting to continue caring for her as he always had. It gives his family a great deal of peace and comfort to know that they are together again, especially knowing that when he got to heaven and discovered Shirlee there waiting for him, he probably yelled out his usual, “Well, I’ll be damned!”
Sonny is preceded in death by his parents Lee and Margaret Cunningham and John and Mary Anna Donaho, his beautiful wife Shirlee, his daughters Robyn and Marlee, and his granddaughter Courtney.
Sonny is survived by his children Traci, Sharyl, Bill, Rhonda, Michiel, Amber, Renee, Brent, Johnny, Nikki, Michael, and Tino; his sister Charlotte and brothers James, John, and George; and over 40 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A graveside service will be held at Monahans Memorial Cemetery on Thursday, May 26, 2022 at 3:00pm officiated by Pastor Jeppie Wilson.