David E. Cunningham, 64, of Rock Springs, passed away on Tuesday, Dec. 8. He was born on July 7, 1956, in Cozad, Nebraska, to Paul E. and Patricia R. Cunningham. He attended schools at District No. 19, east of Cozad, until sixth grade. He then went to the Cozad Public Schools, graduating with the class of 1974.
After high school, he attended Fort Hays State in Hays, Kansas, but soon decided to return to Nebraska. He began working for the Nebraska Natural Gas Company in Gothenburg. While there, he began a career in law enforcement with the Gothenburg Police Department before transferring to the Dawson County Sheriff’s Department, where he met and married his first wife Janae Mandelko, in 1983; they later divorced.
In 1985, David attended the Wyoming Police Academy in Douglas and was accepted into the Wyoming Highway Patrol. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Evanston. It was there he met his wife, Lori Mathson. During his time at the state patrol, he lived in Evanston, Torrington and, finally, Rock Springs, where he retired from the Wyoming Highway Patrol at the rank of captain. After retirement, David hired on as a driver for PTI, where he enjoyed driving train crews across the state.
David never had any kids of his own, but he loved Lori’s children and grandchildren as if they were his. He was always willing to provide for and support them, even when life as a stepparent could be challenging. He was loved and cherished by friends and family and will always be remembered for his giant bear hugs.
David was a member of the Elks Club, eventually becoming exalted ruler. David was also a lifetime member of the Wyoming Highway Patrol Association.
He enjoyed college football — his favorite teams were the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Wyoming Cowboys. He also enjoyed going to concerts, gambling, taking road trips, fishing and watching NASCAR races.
He is survived by his wife, Lori Cunningham; stepson, Brandon Hoffman of Astoria, Oregon; stepdaughters: Rochelle (Edward) Adamski of Evanston; Camille (Jonathan) Andersen of Evanston; Tandi (Timothy) Metoyer of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Roxanne (Eric) LaClaire of Jackson Hole; grandsons, Isaiah Whisman and Felix LaClaire; granddaughter, Mia Castro; sister, Kathy (Randy) Jacob, of Cozad, Nebraska; brother, Doug (Ellen) Cunningham of Lexington, Nebraska; and nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents, grandparents, one aunt and uncle.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday Dec. 18, at Crandall Funeral Home in Evanston.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations go to the Wyoming Highway Patrol Association. Please contact WHP Lt. Matt Arnell at [email protected] for donation information.