Frances Cunningham, 99, passed away with her daughter, Susan, by her side on Sunday, March 22, 2020. She was a resident of Livermore, California, for the last 8 years.
She was born on August 25, 1920, to Croatian immigrants Anthony and Antoinette Depolo, the fifth of their seven children.
A native of Oakland, Frances graduated from Castlemont High School in 1939, where she was recognized as an outstanding athlete. She met her husband, Carl Norman Cunningham, during their senior year as he admired her skills on the baseball field. They were married May 2, 1945, following his return from WWII.
In 1953, the family moved from Oakland to Danville, California, to raise their children. Frances could always be found at her Singer sewer machine, sewing anything from dresses to draperies. She also taught her son Mark to play baseball, starting when he was 6. (Mark was drafted by the former Montreal Expos in 1973.)
The Cunninghams later moved to Walnut Creek, California, living there until retiring to the mountains of Foresthill, California, in 1981. Frances moved to the Rossmoor community in Walnut Creek following her husband's death in 1996. In 2012, she moved next door to her daughter in Livermore, where they enjoyed activities together, especially going to the hair salon, lunch at Emil Villas, and visits to the Livermore Veterans Administration Convalescent Hospital.
Frances found a new love in 2013 – the Livermore High School Varsity Softball team. She loved watching the girls play, sharing a passion for the game. Frances was thrilled to see girls awarded scholarships for their athletic abilities. The girls adopted her as their team “Grandma,” and gifted her with an LHS Cowboy's cap and jersey with “GRANDMA #3” on the back. Frances's last game was March 4, 2020; the girls' last words to her were “Thank you, Grandma, for coming to our game.”
Frances always stepped aside to let others shine, and the family is gratified by outpouring of love and attention she received from the Livermore community. The family is also grateful for the care she received the last three years at Quail Garden, and the friendships she formed with residents, visitors and volunteers at the Livermore assisted living facility.
Frances is survived by her daughter, Susan (Stan) Locke, of Livermore; her son, Mark Cunningham; granddaughters Julie Shumney and Heather Allen; great grandchildren Jordan, Mallory, Conner, Jade, and Brendan; and the most recent joy of her life, great-great grandson Brooks. She also leaves behind many loving nieces and nephews and half-siblings Margaret Guyer, Bruce, and Jack Follette.
She was preceded in death by her siblings Vincent, Anthony, Milan, Eugene, Mary, and Mark, and a half-brother, Carl.
The family wishes to thank St. Michael's Catholic Funeral Services for their patience and guidance. A celebration of life will be announced when the family and friends can be together to share in faith and love.