Cover photo for Jean Cunningham's Obituary
1933 Jean 2022

Jean Cunningham

July 22, 1933 — February 19, 2022

Jean M.Cunningham, 88, of Lacon, died on February 19, 2022, at her home surrounded by her family. Born in Stillwater, Minnesota on July 22, 1933, to the late Hoyt and Helen (Zahler) Elmquist, she married Robert E. Cunningham on April 17, 1954, in Stillwater.

After graduating high school, Jean and her girlfriends would go to Somerset, Wisconsin, (drinking age -18), in hopes of meeting a "flyboy" from Osceola Air Force Station. Jean met her Flyboy in a bar, where the running joke was that she was a dancer named “Boom-Boom Elmquist”. After they were married and upon Bob’s discharge from the US Air Force, they moved from Brainerd, Minnesota to the family farm near Washburn, IL, where they raised their family, milking cows and raising pigs. Jean also sold Avon and worked part-time at Nuske’s Plumbing and Heating in Washburn. When Bob retired from Allen Lumber Company they moved to Lacon, Illinois.

Bob and Jean traveled far and wide, never afraid to start a conversation with a stranger or flirt with a waiter, check out a dead-end road or walk into a tiny tavern for lunch and make a new friend. They explored the lower 48 and beyond, from Nova Scotia to Trinidad, Costa Rica, and Mexico. They instilled in the generations ahead the same curiosity and passion for adventure.

Jean is survived by her children Nancy Gent of Charleston IL, Julie (Ed) Carpenter of Washburn IL, Alan (Theresa) Cunningham of Washburn IL, 9 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren, quite a legacy for a loving couple.

Cremation rites have been accorded and there will be no services at this time. Memorials can be made to Meals on Wheels in Henry IL and online condolences can be left at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Jean M. Cunningham, please visit our floral store.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Jean Cunningham, please visit our flower store.

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