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MASSENA — A Canton native who now resides at the Massena Rehabilitation & Nursing Center is celebrating a significant birthday Wednesday.

Phyllis D. Cunningham was born on Dec. 1, 1921, and will celebrate her 100th birthday.

An early family celebration was held at the Massena Elks Lodge about a month ago, with attendees driving and flying in from several states.

Mrs. Cunningham was the daughter of Rex and Eva-Belle Dunkelberg and was raised on a farm on Lincoln Road, south of Canton.

She married John W. Cunningham of Canton in 1942. They lived in Queens from 1941 to 1944, while Mr. Cunningham served in the U.S. Army in the South Pacific theater. They moved back to Northern New York at the end of World War II and lived on State Street in Canton for 67 years.

Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham raised six children — John, Robert, Donald, Barbara, Alan and David. She also has nine grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren in South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas, Ohio, New York and Ontario, Canada, with great-great-grandchidren expected shortly.

She was predeceased by her husband, John, sons John and Robert, and her brother, Earl.

Mrs. Cunningham took great pride in attending the many sporting events of her five sons, such as hockey. Her daughter, Barbara, took after her with musical talents, with both being members of the Canton High School bands.

Her family members said Mrs. Cunningham is “short in physique, but admirable in her treatment of others, who she always put ahead of herself.”

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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