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Gerald Michael Cunningham
April 12, 1943 ~ August 21, 2023 (age 80) 80 Years Old
GERALD MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM
Gerald Michael Cunningham (Jerry) was born on April 12, 1943, to parents, Edward and Anna Cunningham. Big brother Edward, was five years old when Jerry came along. One year later the two boys welcomed a baby sister, Claire Anne, making the Cunningham family of five complete. Jerry grew up in a Catholic, Irish-Italian family, in a nice middle class neighborhood of Tioga in Philadelphia. Although both Edward and Anna worked, times were hard and money scarce. Jerry described his family as poor but noted his parents always made sure he, his brother, and sister had whatever they needed. Some of his happiest memories are of his family and sharing holidays. He also remembered having a black cat named Cola, he loved very much.
Jerry was raised to value education. He attended St. Veronica's Grade School, where
he was a good student and classmate. He served as an alter server and took tap dancing lessons during his grade school years. Jerry continued his education at Cardinal Dougherty High school. After graduating high school Jerry didn't know what he wanted to do with his life. His father felt very strongly that Jerry continue his education. After some thought he joined the United States Air Force. He was sent to England where he lived for three and a half years. Jerry felt grateful for this experience, he enjoyed traveling and says the U.S. Air Force made him a man. When he was honorably discharged, he came home to Philadelphia and enrolled in St. Joseph's College where he graduated with a degree in business. Jerry held many types of jobs throughout his life. From stock boy, cashier, he opened a small construction company and later became Assistant Vice President of a small local bank. To follow his dream of becoming a lawyer, Jerry moved to Florida to attend Nova Law School. After graduating law school, Jerry was set on practicing civil law. He answered an ad to work in a small one lawyer firm. It turned out that the owner, R.H. Bo Hitchcock, needed a criminal attorney not a civil attorney. Times being hard, Jerry said he would do the work. Jerry quickly became a full partner and the law firm of Hitchcock and Cunningham was formed. The two men became close as brothers. The partnership lasted approximately 35 years, during this time they represented clients throughout the State of Florida. Hitchcock & Cunningham exclusively practiced criminal defense law. As a result of their commitment to the law, the Firm was awarded the prestigious “Harry Gulkin Memorial Award” in 2011, by the Broward Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. They were also known in the legal community for their infamous Law Day Parties, a tribute to all attorneys, judges, and court staff, lasting approximately 35 years. They were acknowledged for the pro-bono work and shared their office space to mentor new attorneys.
Jerry was an avid coin collector. He loved music, dancing and fine art. He loved to travel, but most of all, he loved being a lawyer. Jerry was an extremely strong person, having survived a near fatal stroke in 2010. Never-the-less he was faithful and grateful for the life he had.
He resided in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with his loving wife Lys.
Jerry is preceded in death by his parents, Edward & Anna Cunningham, his brother Edward, his sister Claire Anne & his best friend R.H. Bo Hitchcock.
Jerry is survived by his wife Lys Cunningham, his daughter Kelly Ann Wermuth and her husband Thomas Wermuth and their children Emily Catherine Hurwitz, Eve Elizabeth Hurwitz and Alyssa Wermuth, as well as the Benito and Correa Family. He is also survived by his dear and lasting friend Robert N. Berube.
The family of Gerald M. Cunningham wishes to extend our sincere thanks to Dr. Azarat, Dr. Loza, Dr. Bejar and the Catholic Hospice staff for the wonderful care provided throughout the years. Thank you also to the Berube family for all their support. Not to be forgotten, a most special thank you to Ingrid Pivaral, Jerry’s nurses aid, who took loving care of Jerry since 2019 and developed a strong bond with him and the family, as well as her husband Juan Pivaral.