Marianne Coombs Cunningham, 98, passed away Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016 in Tallahassee in her home of 55 years.
She was born in Savannah, Georgia, Nov. 29, 1917, to James Percy and Edith Grady Coombs. As a young child, Marianne travelled with her parents to Constantinople, Turkey and Lwów, Poland, living there for several years while her father was a director of the Near East Relief Program, serving the orphaned Armenian children following World War I.
She began school in Paris, France, before returning home to Apalachicola where she grew up in the Coombs House, built by her great-grandfather James Nathaniel Coombs. Marianne graduated from Chapman High School, attended Florida State College for Women, and Bryant College in Providence. Rhode Island.
Marianne was married to the late Lt. Cmdr. Charles William Cunningham, USN, who served in both World War II and the Korean War, and lived for a time in Buenos Aires, Argentina before returning to New Orleans and Apalachicola, and finally settling her family in Tallahassee in the early 1950s.
Marianne had a long career in legal offices, much of it working as assistant to the Honorable Richard W. Ervin, from the time he was Florida’s Attorney General until his retirement as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Florida.
Marianne led a life full of responsibilities, adventures, and love of the ocean, especially driftwood and sea-shells that she loved to collect. She enjoyed strolling the coastlines of the Gulf of Mexico, with special love of Indian Pass Beach, west of her beloved Apalachicola. She loved her children, animals, crossword puzzles, reading, and finding humor in life.
She was preceded in death by two sons, William G. Cunningham and Jeffery M. Cunningham.
She is survived by children Robert G. Cunningham (beloved daughter-in-law Leisa) of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Catherine Cunningham Golson (beloved son-in-law Chris) of Redwood City, California, and Michael G. Cunningham of Tallahassee; her sister Edith McCluskey, Tallahassee, and brother James P. Coombs III, Augusta, Georgia.
Survivors also include four grandchildren Lisa Tomasi McCormick (Steven) of San Francisco, California; Zachary C. Cunningham, Tallahassee; Benjamin G. Cunningham, New York, New York; and Zoe M. Cunningham, currently of Barcelona, Spain; her niece Claire McCluskey of Savannah, Georgia; grandnephews Ben English of Colorado and Will English of Savannah, Georgia; and her nephew Bill McCluskey, of Tallahassee.
Funeral Mass is planned for Saturday, Oct. 22, at 1 p.m. at St. Patrick Catholic Church, Apalachicola, followed by a reception in the parish hall.
In lieu of flowers, a donation to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, the Lupus Foundation, The Southern Poverty Law Center or to The Near East Relief Program would be deeply appreciated.