Susan E. Cunningham, noted as a fiddler and festival organizer in the bluegrass world, and as a rocket scientist in the world of aeronautical engineering, died earlier this month at 57. She had been fighting against lung cancer this past five years.
Over her life, Sue’s music was heard in her native Pittsburgh and in Wellsboro in northern Pennsylvania, where she worked with The Hickory Project and the The Rowan Cunningham Band. During her time in Wellsboro she also helped found and run the annual Hickory Fest in 2002. As a teen, she played with her two brothers in The Flying Cunninghams, a group that achieved national and international recognition.
While living along the Gulf Coast in the early ’90s, and working for Pratt & Whitney and the US Air Force, Sue found time to perform with South Ocean String Band and White Sands Panhandle Band. She also took the title of Florida State Fiddle Champion three times during that period.
Cunningham was living in Boston when she passed, where she was a regular on the local bluegrass scene.
Friends remember her across the country for her professionalism, musical skill, and generous spirit, especially with younger artists.
The family requests that anyone wishing to remember Sue to please consider a donation in her memory to the Dreyfoos School of the Arts Foundation, where the Sue Cunningham Memorial Music Scholarship has been established. They can be submitted either online or by mail to:
School of the Arts Foundation
P.O. Box 552
West Palm Beach, FL 33402
R.I.P., Sue Cunningham