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Biruta E. Cunningham
PAWTUCKET - Biruta E. Cunningham of Pawtucket, 90, died peacefully on Thursday, July 25, 2013, with her niece Joanne Ciocys, at her side. Biruta was the wife of the late beloved Dr. John J. Cunningham.
Born in Pawtucket to Lithuanian immigrants, the late Edward and Eleanor (Romaska) Ciocys, she was very active in her family's Catholic Lithuanian parish, St. Casimir's, in Providence. Mrs. Cunningham graduated from St. Xavier's and Rhode Island School of Design (BFA, 45, ID) and became an Interior Designer at Jordan Marsh in Boston. Married in 1954, Biruta dedicated herself to Johns career by membership in Memorial Hospitals Womens Auxilliary, and by hosting parties for his Brown U. Medical School students. She shared her Faith Life at St. Catherine's (LC) and at St. Theresa's. Her artistic talents were evident in her passion for art works, antiques, Slater Mill, and flower- arranging. She became Pres. of the Pawtucket Garden Club, and a Master Judge of Flower Shows (with the Natl. Fed. Of Garden Clubs) around the country. She enjoyed world travel, Bridge, bowling, golf, friends and family time.
Mrs. Cunningham is survived by her two children: John P. Cunningham and wife, Sue, of East Providence; and Susan L. Cunningham of Clinton, Washington; and grandchildren, Erin, Sean and Kerri and great, Clara. Biruta was also caregiver to her late brother, William F. Ciocys, 5 children: the late David Ciocys, Claudia McNeil, and husband, Paul, Mary Ellen Cotton, Edward Ciocys, and Joanne Ciocys, and enjoyed visiting with their 11 children and 7 grandchildren: Mary Brigitte, James, Jane, Matthew, Dominic, Benjamin, Paul, and Charles, and Eleanor, Kate and Tom; Samuel, Manny, Finnegan, Ian, Everett, Garrett, and Adelaide. Biruta was their beloved Aunt Birt.
There will be a Mass of Christian Burial for Mrs. Cunningham in St. Theresa's Church, 358 Newport Ave, Pawtucket, on Tuesday at 10 am, with burial at St. Ann's Cemetery, Cranston. Calling hours will be on Monday, from 5-8 pm at Manning-Heffern Funeral Home, 68 Broadway, Pawtucket.
In lieu of sending flowers, you might plant a tree in Biruta's name, or donate to: the Alzheimers Research Fund, Rhode Island Chapter, 245 Waterman Street, Providence, 02906 or Slater Mill Museum, Roosevelt Avenue, Pawtucket, 02860 or New Horizons Adult Day Center in Pawtucket. For directions and guest book signatures, please visit
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