Michael Cunningham [Edward Michael Cunningham]
July 10, 1943 – July 30, 2023
On a beautiful Sunday morning with blue skies and fluffy white clouds, Michael Cunningham, aka Mikey and Buzzard, peacefully left his physical self and went to join his son Bradley and his brother Gene along with other family members and friends.
Michael left New Jersey where he had been born and raised and came to the Mad River Valley in the early 1970s to run an inn along with his wife that was called the Bagatelle in Waitsfield. That inn is now known as the Waitsfield Inn. He was a passionate and beautiful skier and taught skiing at Mount Ellen and Sugarbush when not tending to the inn. He acquired many certifications from the Professional Ski Instructors Association (PSIA) and the American Ski Teachers Association #291 (ASTAN) as well as several others too numerous to list. During the summer season he and his wife managed the West Chop Club on Marthas Vinyard. The shoulder seasons were spent traveling both in the states and abroad, a pastime he continued to enjoy whenever he could. He was always up for a road trip as he loved to drive as well as fly and can say he had been to 48 of our 50 states.
He stopped teaching skiing and in the early 1990s he spent a summer on a bicycle as a tour leader with Vermont Bicycle Tours (VBT). He then went on to another outdoor activity in 1994 working in sales and customer service for Mad River Canoe. Paddling a canoe, especially on a full moon night, was one of his favorite pleasures. After Mad River Canoe left The Valley, he returned to the ski industry working for Elan Ski. Michael then worked as a project manager/coordinator for the Warren Decentralized Municipal Wastewater Project, and then the Waitsfield Water and Wastewater Project, the latter, however, unfortunately did not come to fruition. Before retiring in 2014 Michael spent 12 years driving a big yellow school bus for Harwood Union High School.
Michael was a hugger, sometimes a little too enthusiastically, and always had a smile and a positive approach to life. He was a loyal friend and was so very good at keeping in touch with all of them. Always a lover of books he became a prolific reader to the extent that the Warren Library may see a drop in their numbers with him no longer here. Michael was an avid photographer, both artistically and for commemorating people, places and events. Once retired, he continued to create not only his wooden “hookers” but added wooden candle holders which he sold through several shops not only in The Valley but in Middlebury, Waterbury and Burlington.
Family was important to Michael and he has left behind his beautiful and talented daughter, Lauren C. Woods, his two nieces Dianne Dolan, Jeanne Richards and her husband Mark, his nephew Peter Cunningham and his wife Lynnette. He was sadly predeceased by his son Bradley in 2001 and his brother Gene in 2019. A celebration of Michael’s life has yet to be scheduled. Any donations in his honor would be appreciated if they went to the Bradley W. Cunningham Scholarship Fund at Gould Academy, 39 Church Street, P.O. Box 860, Bethel, ME 04217.