Cunningham, Marwood 'Byng'

Cunningham, Marwood 'Byng'

April 25th, 2018

… our husband, father and grandfather, always taking care of the details, penned his own autobiography and we would like to share it with you…


I was born on May 17, 1929 to Marwood and Katherine Cunningham in Owen Sound, the first baby born in a new hospital. Later I was joined by my siblings, Marriane and Bob, when we lived in Toronto. We had a piano which Mother could play by ear and she used to say that I was a good singer. I was entered into various talent contests and often won prizes. At 12, I was approached by the Eaton’s delivery driver and was offered 25 cents a day to help with deliveries. I became a member of Canada’s work force at that time. At this time the War was the main news.  Rationing of sugar, butter, bacon and gas was in effect. I remember Mother lining up with her ration book hoping items would not run out before she got to the front. I can never remember being hungry. I joined the high school track team in the 100 and 200 yard dashes and the standing broad jump. I ran a 10.7 second 100 yard dash and broke the record at the broad jump by jumping 10 feet.

While working at Diversey in Toronto, my sister worked in the same building and she arranged a blind date with Audrey Shaw. Yes, you guessed it - the same lady I have been married to for 67 years. We left Toronto shortly after as traffic in Toronto was getting bad. We settled in Port Elgin where Dave was born. A man I knew was working for the RCAF and had moved to Winnipeg. The prospect of better pay had me enlist as a Sergeant in 1954. Al was born in Winnipeg in 1956. The Air Force brought us closer to home in 1955 when we transferred to Clinton. I left the RCAF in 1959 after declining a transfer to Europe. I joined the London Health Department and in 1968 joined Beaver Foods where I was set for life. Beaver Foods grew from $2 million to $200 million a year when I retired in 1990. We got the travel bug in 1968. We were in over 75 countries by the time we gave up travel.

I am grateful for many things. I am grateful that my parents marched me off to Sunday School every week where I got a head start on my love for God and his Son. I am grateful that it was my good fortune to meet and marry Audrey. She is the most caring person I know and has made the last 67 years the best. Lastly, I am grateful for boys who have each become successful beyond our wildest dreams.

We learned early in life how satisfying it is to be able to help those less fortunate than we are.  Please take pleasure in donating to a charity of your choice in lieu of flowers.


Service Details
Colborne Street United Church
711 Colborne Street, London
Saturday, May 5, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.


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    Book of Condolences

    Heather Billard and Phil GubbKaren and Dave. We are sorry to hear of the loss of your Father. Our heartfelt condolences to your Mother, you and your family. Thinking of you at this time.
    Tina BirkholmDear Karen an Dave, it was interesting to read about your Dad! I can now understand better what helped you, Dave, become such a great boss! Jorn an I send our warmest thoughts to you both at this time.
    Doug & Marti ActonDave, Karen, and Family. Our sincere condolences on the passing of your father. Our thoughts are with you at this challenging time. May all your remembrances be of love and good times.
    Greg & Gail DrechslerAl, Krista, Jeff & Jamie, Our sincere sympathy on the passing of your dad Al. I meet him just a few times but was impressed with his wisdom and his love for his family. Our brief visit at the airport in Minneapolis when you asked me to check up on him when they were returning from a vacation was the last timeI saw him. He was so impressed that you were looking out for him. It was a pleasure to visit with both your mom & dad that day. Thinking of you all.
    Terry and Deborah DewanDave and Kren: Our most heartfelt condolences as well as virtual hugs and kisses are coming your way. It was very interesting reading all about your Dad. His warm and caring personality just pops up while reading it. We pray that warm memories will turn into treasures for you and your family as you remember him.
    Mary VernonMy deepest sympthy to Mrs. Cunningham and all the family. I am sorry for your loss of this lovely man. Many Happy Memories will help you through this journey. May God Bless you all at this difficult time. Mary V.
    Brian KnowlesMy sincere condolences to Audrey and Family My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time I worked with Byng at Beaver Foods for many years and during that time we shared lots of stories When Byng looked after the Eager Beaver Bulletin one year I won the District Manager of the year award , somehow my name when announced in the bulletin was mispelt, and they called me Brian Forbes After that Byng when he saw me always called me Forbes Last time I saw Byng was last year at the Beaver retireees luncheon and he still called me Forbes He was a great talented and caring individual Rest In Peace Byng Brian
    Bill ReidAudrey. Linda and I wish to offer our sincere condolences on the passing of your beloved Byng. It was always delightful to share a conversation with this unique and engaging man. We also extend our sympathy to Dave and Karen; Al and Krista, and their families for the loss of a guiding light in their lives.
    Jean BalcomAudrey and Family What fond memories we have growing up on Eagle Crescent with Byng and his family. From ice skating to the many fun parties we had in our basement. Byng was always "larger than life" with a big laugh and contagious smile. He will be missed. Take care of each other, Sincere condolences, Jean Balcom & Family
    Shirley CobbanAudrey: It was always such a pleasure to meet you and Byng when you attended O.P.C. May your many memories help to brighten the sad days. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and the family. God is our refuge. Shirley & Tom Cobban O.P.C.
    Lee StanleyWhat a precious message for your father to leave behind. It sounds like you will have many memories of him to reflect upon. My condolences to you and your family - Lee.
    Richard Lewis and Linda ZimmermanDave, Karen and Family We are so sorry to hear of your dear father's passing. Reading his obituary, we were so impressed with his accomplishments and his devotion to his family. Losing a parent is devastating. Time passes, but your love for your father and his memories will never diminish. May the love of your family and your friends help you through your loss.
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