Mr. Thomas Cunningham

Mr. Thomas Cunningham

Mr. Thomas Cunningham

Mr. Thomas Cunningham
October 21, 1943 – July 6, 2020

Thomas Leroy “Tom” Cunningham, age 76 of Naples, FL formerly of Bismarck, IL, passed away at 4:55 a.m. on Monday, July 6, 2020 at Vitas Hospice in Naples.

Tom was born on October 21, 1943 in Danville, IL. He was the son of Paul V. and Helen L. (Clark) Cunningham. Tom attended Bismarck schools until the eleventh grade when they moved to Monticello, IL and was a 1961 graduate of Monticello High School. He then attended the University of Illinois where he studied architecture and aviation. Tom served in the U.S. Navy and was stationed on the USS Arlington as a cryptographer during the Vietnam War.

Tom was a corporate pilot and flew for numerous companies. He flew for the state of Illinois GTE and was a test pilot for Daher of France. While working for these companies, he lived in Champaign, IL, Springfield, IL, Joliet, IL, Bloomington, IL, and Indianapolis, IN. He had resided in Bokeelia, FL and Naples, FL for over 25 years.

Tom was a member of the American Legion and the VFW. He enjoyed boating and fishing. Since moving to Florida, he became a professional photographer as well as a member of the camera club. Being a pilot, he loved to travel. Tom has traveled to 18 countries, crossing the equator in 1969 on his way to Australia. He had traveled to every state except Alaska and lacked only 30 degrees from flying completely around the world.

Surviving are,
2 Sisters, Judy Backlund (husband: Andrew) of Kirksville, MO and Carole Simpson (husband: Andrew) of Torino, Italy;
6 Nieces and nephews;
Several Clark and Cunningham cousins whom Tom remained close to;
Dear friends, Dr. Tony Dustman of Bloomington, IL, Jack and Nancy Kaiburz of Punta Gorda, FL;
Camera club friend, Gwen Tyler of Golden Gate, FL

A graveside service with full military honors will be held at Walnut Corner Cemetery in Bismarck, IL on Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. CDT with Tom’s niece, Rev. Lori Landon officiating. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Walnut Corner Cemetery. Online condolences may be made at


Chuck "Bull" Dozer, RM3, USS Arlington

July 16, 2020, 3:46 am

I served along side of Tom, “TC”, on the USS Arlington off the shores of Vietnam. Enjoyed drinks of “Chivas”! We were good friends and he and another friend sailor, visited me at my then house in Santa Barbara, California, many years ago. Later on, decades later, we re-connected and, as it turns out, were both avid photographers. And we shared many ideas, and “critiques” along the way. I knew he had health issues, and prior to his passing he sent me a video of him, I guess in hospice, in pretty bad shape. I had no replies to several e-mails, and just learned of his passing. Very sad, as we got along very well and shared good stuff in later life. I will miss his “e-mail chats”! Great to have known ya! Chuck, “Bull” Dozer, Carlsbad, California.

Leave a Condolence

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *