Mary Jo Hirsch Cunningham, 77, passed away Jan. 30, 2022 in Ellinwood, KS. She was born Jan. 1st, 1945 in Manhattan, KS to Charles & Stella Dyche Hirsch. She attended St. Joseph School and graduated from EHS in 1963 and from Kansas State with a degree in Technical Journalism in 1967 and has advanced hours in Museology from Bowling Green State University. She married Ronald Gene Cunningham in 1967 and moved to Wooster, Ohio for a year where she worked at Wooster Floral Store and OARDC in the Forestry Department. She lived in Deshler, Ohio 30 years belonging to Immaculate Conception Catholic Church where she was a Eucharistic minister and lector, head of liturgy committee and member of communications and community life committee, Secretary, President of the Deshler Council of Churches, member of Rosary Mission Guild, and member of the Toledo Diocesan Synod on the Ecumenical committee. Other memberships include Bartlow Township Historical Society, Henry Co. Historical Society, Black Swamp Spinners Guild, Company of Military Historians, Old Northwest Department, Riley Co. Historical Society, Kansas Historical Society and Ellinwood Historical Society. She was a member of the National Cookie Cutter Collectors Club, Editor of Cookie Crumbs their national newsletter, regional President of Heart of America Cutter Collectors, Secretary of Golden Belt Model Railroaders Club, member of Hutchinson Antique and Collectors Club. Additional memberships include American Legion Auxiliary, and was President of the Heritage Club (Ellinwood Senior Center). Mary Joe wrote the History of Immaculate Conception Church and its update, written Dyche Trail and Tails and published the Journal of 1800-1840 for the U.S. and Canada for 15 years. Also she published I.C. Light, Spin a Gram, Henry's Attic Newsletters, Echoes the newsletter, and Ridin' the Rails newsletter. She published Keeping in Touch for cookie cutter collectors and tinsmiths in the US and Canada. Mary Jo also gave a number of presentations at National C.A.M.P conferences and had articles published in the Journal of America's Military Past. She later worked for Deshler Flag newspaper in Ohio and for the Brewer Bohlander Publishing Co. and was Editor of the Ellinwood Leader for 9 years. She was active in War of 1812 living history program primarily at 1816 Historic Ft. Wayne, 1813 Fort Meigs, Ohio, but traveled further East and to Canada. She chaired the Ellinwood German Christmas Open Haus and hosted eight regional Heart of America cookie cutter meetings in Ellinwood.
She is survived by Husband Ron, Ellinwood, KS; sister, Kathleen Hildebrand, Hutchinson, KS; niece Star Hildebrand; her dog Fergi the Corgi. She was preceded in death by her parents and her dog Cora the Corgi and Mask her loving Cat.
Cremation will take place and services will be scheduled at a later date with Minnis Chapel in Ellinwood.
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