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Obituary - Orla Ray Cunningham

Memorial photo of Oral Ray Cunningham.


Orla Ray Cunningham of Widefield passed away February 15, 2024, at the age of 92. He was born November 18, 1931, to Rachael (Lewis) and Orval Cunningham in Bison, Kansas. 

Orla moved often with his family as a child along the Kansas and Colorado railroad line, finally settling in Eads.

He attended school in Eads, graduating in 1949 from Eads High School as salutatorian of his class. He also attended Trinidad State College. 

April 5, 1953, he married the love of his life, Shirley L. Laird, and together they had five children.

Orla was employed as a teletypist at the Kiowa County Press in Eads for many years before beginning his career in civil service; first with the Selective Service Systems and then the Social Security Administration, where he retired after 25 years of service. During those early years in civil service, he moved the family to Widefield.

He was an avid bowler for over 50 years, and served as the Secretary of the Colorado Springs Bowling Association from 1996 to 2009. In 2011, Orla was inducted into the Colorado Springs Bowling Hall of Fame with Meritorious Service.

He was preceded in death by his beloved wife; two sons, John and Harold; parents; and three sisters, Laura Via, Reba VanSchooten, and Della May Sorensen.

Orla leaves behind two sons, Arthur (Diane) and Robert (Mary); daughter, Sheila Plagman (Patrick); and many grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

It was Orla's wish that no formal services be held. 

He will be interred in a private family ceremony at the Shrine of Remembrance in Colorado Springs.