HOWLAND — The individual most amazed by the variety of service organizations Fran Cunningham has served in is Cunningham herself. Reviewing papers final week from greater than 60 years of volunteer work, her eyes widened.
“I couldn’t imagine the issues that I did,” she stated.
She giggled a bit bit when she got here throughout a newspaper photograph of herself as chairman of the Warren residential space Most cancers Campaign with band director Lawrence Welk, who was the 1968 Nationwide Campaign chair for the American Most cancers Society.
“Isn’t that one thing?” she stated.
At 86, Cunningham nonetheless goes sturdy — each as a volunteer and as an energetic Realtor.
“I inform folks I’m 68 — with the numbers reversed. God has been good to me,” she stated. “I’m nonetheless in superb well being and nonetheless have all my marbles, and I’m nonetheless working. Not many individuals nonetheless work at my age.”
For a number of years, she bought homes alongside her daughter, Jill, now of Virginia.
“(Beginning out), she stated, ‘Mother, once I’ve been in it for 30 years, I’m going to retire,’” Cunningham recalled. “Simply earlier than she retired, she bought a $945,000 home. I assumed she’ll be altering her thoughts, however she didn’t. She retired. I’m nonetheless right here.”
Her a long time of volunteer work consists of serving as council president of the Beta Sigma Phi Sorority in 1958; the board of administrators of the Youngsters’s Rehabilitation Hospital from 1962 to 1972; a founding member of the Warren Junior Girls’s League in 1966 and its president for its first two years; and a member of the St. Joseph Warren Hospital Auxiliary since 1970, in addition to a member of the hospital’s board of trustees and the Basis Board. (“I used to be the primary girl on the Basis Board, apart from the sisters.”)
She’s chaired numerous committees and efforts of the American Most cancers Society, the United Approach, SCOPE, Household Providers and the Warren Space of Chamber of Commerce. The total record of service teams and titles takes up about 4 typewritten pages.
“I don’t know what made me need to volunteer on a regular basis,” Cunningham stated. “I totally loved it. I take pleasure in doing that stuff to assist folks out. Approach again then (in Beta Sigma Phi), we used to promote jelly beans for the Youngsters’s Rehab Heart. They (the middle) nonetheless promote jelly beans.”
Cunningham was born and raised in Warren.
“After I was in highschool, I bought soccer applications. We bought pillows. Thirty-five of them deflated. They have been going to throw them out. I stated, ‘Maintain on, we are able to make cash on them.’ I bought them for 35 cents as an alternative of $1. On the finish of the college 12 months, I acquired an award for being the perfect salesman.”
Then generally known as Fran Walker, she took secretarial lessons and after commencement from Warren G. Harding Excessive College in 1952, was a secretary in Warren, ultimately touchdown a secretary’s job at Thomas Metal.
In 1958, she married William Cunningham, an industrial engineer. “We have been married 62 years, three months and 18 days,” Cunningham stated. It was a life full of love and laughter.
Invoice Cunningham died Dec. 18, 2020, about three years after they’d moved from Warren to a ranch dwelling in Howland.
Fran Cunningham labored at Thomas Metal till the youngsters — younger Invoice and Jill — got here alongside about 60 years in the past, 14 months aside.
In these days, most girls didn’t have careers, so ladies’s golf equipment thrived, she stated. She stored getting concerned.
“It doesn’t matter what group I used to be in, we have been all the time fundraising for the group,” Cunningham stated.
One in all her co-volunteers was taking actual property lessons and inspired Cunningham to do the identical.
“I went to actual property faculty when the youngsters have been at school. I turned licensed in 1971,” she stated. She went to work for Zamarelli Actual Property that very same 12 months.
She turned a life member of the Million Greenback Gross sales Membership, Ohio Affiliation of Realtors, in 1974, and was named Realtor of the 12 months in 1983 and 1985, earlier than she and three different ladies shaped their very own Brokers Actual Property Group in 1990.
“We have been all concerned locally with completely different teams,” Cunningham stated. “The boys stated that we couldn’t do it, however throughout the first 12 months, we have been the No. 1 firm.”
They remained the highest actual property firm within the county for a number of years. Cunningham earned one other Realtor of the 12 months award in 1992 earlier than they merged with Coldwell Banker Eaton Group in 1996 to develop into Coldwell Brokers Realty Group.
They lastly bought their enterprise in 2003. “We didn’t actually need to promote, however when do you promote? When they need you,” she stated.
After entertaining a number of gives, Cunningham returned to William Zamarelli Realtors in 2003, the place she stays.
She stated doesn’t know what number of homes she bought in her 50 years and counting as a Realtor. “I by no means actually tabulated that. A whole lot, I do know that,” she stated. “You meet probably the most fantastic folks.”
Amongst her accolades, Cunningham was named Beta Sigma Phi Woman of the 12 months in 1962; Ohio Federation of Girls’s Golf equipment Junior Membership Lady of the 12 months in 1968 and 1972; The Trumbull Enterprise and Skilled Girls’s Trumbull County Mom of the 12 months, 1972; and the Warren Enterprise and Skilled Girls’s Warren Lady of the 12 months, 1973.
She’s held quite a lot of places of work with the Warren Space Board of Realtors, together with president in 1985, 1992 and final 12 months.
Of her volunteer work, Cunningham stated she’s most pleased with being a founding member and first president of the Warren Junior Girls’s League. She chaired the group’s first Paint the City Pink Follies, which raised as a lot as $5,000 a 12 months and helped purchase a home to function the Someplace Secure home violence shelter. For greater than 50 years, the group has held its annual Champagne Luncheon and Fashion Present to boost cash for the Youngsters’s Rehabilitation Heart.
“I will need to have loved doing it,” she stated. She encourages others to do what they’ll. “There’s all the time some group that wants your assist. There’s a necessity on the market, regardless of the place you go.
“I’ve had an incredible life, an incredible marriage,” she stated. “I thank God on daily basis for all times and what he’s finished for me.”