Rose Lillian Cunningham Photo

Rose Lillian Cunningham passed away on December 15, 2020 in Santa Cruz, California with her loving family by her side. She was born in South San Francisco on August 19, 1917 to William and Anna Schmiedeke— a sister to Ruth and brother Bill. The family lived in San Bruno, a lumber camp in Oregon, and on a ranch near Boulder Creek. She graduated from Burlingame High School in1935, where she met the love of her life, Russell Cunningham. They were married in Reno, Nevada in 1937, residing in San Bruno until 1979 when they retired to Pebble Beach, California.

Rose was right by Russell’s side as he rose through the ranks to become the Chief of Police of San Bruno in 1962. Along the way, she was manager of Borden’s Creamery in Burlingame, organized the Welcome Wagon in San Bruno, clerked at the Ross and Chapman clothing stores, and was an active volunteer in the St. Robert’s Mother’s Club and Girl Scouts while her daughters were students at St. Robert’s Elementary School. She was most proud of her service during World War II: a true Rosie the Riveter working as a steel inspector at Bethlehem Steel in South San Francisco.

At the age of 50, Rose took up golf—beginning at Wikiup in Santa Rosa with her long time friend Mary Sweetman. It was “ love at first sight”: she was a charter member of Rancho Canada Women’s Golf Club, the PWGA, won many tournaments, and was a volunteer scorekeeper for many years at the Crosby, now AT&T, annual golf tournaments. Every November, you would find Rose guiding her golf cart around the Pebble Beach golf course as she was in charge of organizing the marshals for the Calloway Golf Tournament.

Golf was a life-long passion but traveling in their Airstream was most important to Rose and Russell ( Russ )—-two trips across the country and many rallies with the Wally Bynum Trailer group, including the favorite trip to the Indianapolis 500.

As a member of the Orchid Society, Rose cherished her collection of her 200 cymbidium orchids, but also found time to volunteer every week at the St Vincent de Paul store in Pacific Grove.

Family was always important to her, and she was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Rose and Russ were married for 66 years before he passed away in 2003. She is survived by her daughters Rosanne Seratti ( Donald ) and Suzanne Caughey (Allan ); grandchildren Geoff, Pamela, Karen, and Joe; step grandchildren Robby and Jenny, and all their families, including 8 great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

Rose was always ready to lend a helping hand, cared deeply for her family and friends. She will be sorely missed, but her perseverance, her spirit of life and love, her faith, and her caring for others live on in our lives and our hearts.

If you would like to make a donation in her memory, please consider Hospice of Santa Cruz County, St. Vincent de Paul Society, and Catholic Charities.

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