Marjorie R. Cunningham, 77


Her passion was for music. Her commitment was to teaching. Her dedication was to family.

Westborough – Marjorie R. (Parker) Mitchell Cunningham, of Westborough, died early Saturday morning, Sept. 22, 2012, just over a week after celebrating her 77th birthday.

She is survived by her beloved husband of 29 years, Robert Cunningham; her brother Robert Parker and his wife Odessa of Long Beach, California; her three children, Heidi-Lynn Mitchell, her partner Rod Tayler, Lance Mitchell, his wife Michelle, and Tanya Sue Trainor, and her husband Richard; their father, Mack Mitchell; her grandchildren, Brendan Murphy Mitchell, Parker, Barrett and Brynn Mitchell, and Logan and Cole Trainor; and Helga Coffey, her best friend for 44 years.

Born to Guy and Martha Parker on Sept. 13, 1935, in Long Beach, California, she became accomplished on the piano, marimba, accordion and organ. She was also a member of her church choir. In 1957, she received a B.A. from Whittier College in education and music.

Before starting her family, she taught elementary school and was a church organist in both California and Massachusetts, then returned to California, where she was the Organist Choir Director at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Los Osos.

She taught first grade at the Mary Finn School in Southborough for 30 years until her retirement in 1998. Along the way, she earned a M.Ed. at Wheelock College. She was Organist Choir Director at the Unitarian Church in Northborough and held the same position for 29 years at the Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson. Her marimba music was treasured by five generations of family, friends and church members.

Marjorie was also a 30-year breast cancer survivor. During a brief hospitalization last week, conversation, music, laughter and a few of her spirited comments continued until just hours before her passing.

A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, Oct. 6, at 2:00 p.m., at the Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson, 80 Main St., Hudson. There are no visiting hours. Arrangements are under the direction of the Morris Funeral Home of Southborough.

In lieu of flowers, Marjorie requested that contributions be made to the Marjorie Mitchell Cunningham Music Scholarship, c/o the Northborough-Southborough Regional School District, 53 Parkerville Rd., Southborough, MA 01772.

She believed that “The flowers, the gorgeous, mystic multi-colored flowers are not the flowers of life, but people, yes people are the true flowers of life: and it has been a most precious pleasure to have temporarily strolled in your garden.” (Lord Buckley).

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