Elizabeth Cunningham Obituary
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In Memory of

Elizabeth "Betty" Cunningham

December 30, 1928 - November 19, 2012
Obituary

Elizabeth Cunningham (nee Nevin), called Betty by family and friends and Mum by her children, was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in the shadow of the Harland and Wolff shipyard, where her father worked. This Irish elf grew up in Shamrock Street, a quintessentially Irish address. One of six girls, Betty endured the loss of her mother at the age of eight and was raised by her sister Belle. She survived the bombings of the Second World War and was a child of the generation imprinted by rationing. She grew up playing in the Ormeau Park and singing in May Street church. Betty married the love of her life, Thomas Herbert (Bert) Cunningham,...
Elizabeth Cunningham (nee Nevin), called Betty by family and friends and Mum by her children, was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in the shadow of the Harland and Wolff shipyard, where her father worked. This Irish elf grew up in Shamrock Street, a quintessentially Irish address. One of six girls, Betty endured the loss of her mother at the age of eight and was raised by her sister Belle. She survived the bombings of the Second World War and was a child of the generation imprinted by rationing. She grew up playing in the Ormeau Park and singing in May Street church.
Betty married the love of her life, Thomas Herbert (Bert) Cunningham, in 1955. Bert described Betty as the most vivacious woman he had ever met; it was an apt description. They immigrated to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, to begin their married life and had three children: Joan, John, and Tom. All were born in October, all three years apart. Betty would tell door to door census takers that her husband was a travelling salesman who came home once every three years in February.
Betty was born to be a mother. Her love of small children was instinctive. She would coo, cuddle, sing, and nurture her babies, indeed all babies. This attention continued into their school years. Tired of making sandwiches for school lunches, she empathically concluded that her children were probably sick of eating them. She would make homemade sausage rolls, hamburgers, and milkshakes, which she would wrap and then deliver to the school by car, for our lunches. This did not win her children friends, but it made for happy tummies. Betty typed up little books of times tables to help her children with math, she made golf trophies for her sons out of pie plates, and knit Barbie clothing in the evening to surprise her daughter the next morning.
Betty was a gifted singer, knitter, baker, cook, and gardener. Her soprano voice won singing competitions in Ireland; when Mum was happy she sang as she did housework. Her Aran and baby sweaters, knit with love and devotion, remain works of art. Betty's love of baking closely followed by her love of butter was legendary. Her rose garden in the late 60's and 70's was so splendid that motorists would stop in their cars to look at her collection of hybrid tea roses, which she somehow got to flourish north of Montreal.
The family moved to Kitchener in 1980 and settled in old Forest Hill. Her daughter Joan married David Somerville and John married Sherri Steeves. This produced three beautiful and talented grandchildren, Courtney, Elizabeth, and Jordon, who she fawned over as she had her own babies. Betty was devoted to her Bert and devastated at his death, in 1993, from which she carried on, but never recovered. She lived with her devoted, adult son Tom, who supported her in remaining in her own home. It isn't possible to do justice to Betty's unconscious comic timing, her tenacity, or generosity. She was loved by all who knew her and is missed by everyone she touched. This Irish elf is with her Bert once again and we know she is happy though we miss her so.
Betty is predeceased by her sister Molly Carson, her brother-in-law Bobby Carson, her sister Nancy Murray, her brother-in-law Jimmy Murray, her sister Isabel Patience, her brother-in-law Jack Patience, her brother-in-law Ronnie Johnston, and her sister Winnie Walker. She is survived by her brother-in-law George Walker, her sister Jessie Johnston, and the nieces and nephews of her sisters.

Charitable Donations gratefully accepted to:
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
The Alzheimer's Society
The Kidney Foundation of Canada
and can be made by contacting the funeral home or online at www.canadahelps.org

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