Obituary: Gary Cunningham
October 30, 2023
Grace City, N.D.
Gary Duane Cunningham, age 66, of Grace City, N.D., died Sunday, October 15, 2023 at his home, of natural causes.
Gary's visitation was held Thursday, October 19, 2023, from 1-2 p.m. followed by a funeral service at 2 p.m., all at Faith Evangelical Free Church, Grace City, N.D. Burial followed at the Grace City Cemetery. Rev. Dave Fix officiated the service with special music by pianist Karol Kapelle. Congregational hymns were "How Great Thou Art," "In the Sweet By and By" and "'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus." Pallbearers were Brad Barker, Mark Ekeland, Ian Cunningham, Mike Leichtman, Trent Messner, John Cunningham, David Cunningham and Jeff Kapelle. Honorary pallbearers were Jason Ekeland, Justin Ekeland, Jeremy Ekeland, Sabrina Cunningham and Holly Cunningham.
Gary was born on September 16, 1957, in Kensal, N.D. He was the first child, born to Mabel Christine and Duane Alfred Cunningham. At the young age of five, Gary talked with his mother about the gift of salvation paid for by Jesus on the cross. Gary prayed to accept forgiveness for his sins.
Gary started life with imagination and energy. His motto seemed to be "Why walk when you can run?" He convinced his sister to jump off buildings with him so they could fly like Superman and woman. When Gary began going to FaHoCha Bible Camp, which he loved, he earned the nickname of "Rabbit" for his quick ways. He had to be fast to get away from all the girls who chased him!
In high school, Gary decided to learn to play trombone in the Grace City School band. Until he received his trombone, he practiced by blowing into the garden hose. Gary made some interesting sounds out of that hose! Music continued to bring joy to Gary throughout his life. He played guitar, bass guitar and sang. Gary played bass guitar for the worship team at Faith Evangelical Free Church in Grace City. He dreamed of being a recording engineer someday. Gary studied recording techniques and how to use a mic to capture performances, experimenting with recording local groups.
Gary was deeply interested in mechanics and engines, learning how to increase their performance. He poured over manuals, and it paid off in the skills he learned. Gary's first job was as a mechanic at Scanson Repair. This passion for all things mechanical grew and expanded into a hobby with cars, specifically drag racing.
In 1986, Gary attended a semester at Winnipeg Bible College. He then transitioned to other jobs, including grinding feed for farmers in the area, and farm work for Leo Gauderman, Jr.
Being fascinated with how things work led Gary to become skilled in carpentry and construction. He started his own business, G. C. Remodeling. Gary worked with many in the area including Dick Messerly, Gleason Construction, Pine Ridge Builders, Messner Construction and others.
Often a man of few words, Gary could turn on the charm when the mood was right. He was generous, and always ready to lend a helping hand. Gary was a good listener and friend to all. Many homes and buildings in the community will continue to be a tribute to Gary's workmanship.
Gary is survived by his father, Duane Cunningham; sister, Bonnie (Mark) Ekeland; brothers, John (Rachel) Cunningham; David (Becky) Cunningham; and many nieces and nephews.
Gary is preceded in death by mother, Mabel Cunningham; grandparents, Margaret and Paul Johnston; cousin, David Manz, Jr.; and uncle, Glenn Bjornson.
Arrangements by Evans Funeral Home in Carrington and New Rockford, N.D.