It is with heavy hearts we announce the sudden passing of Eileen M. Cunningham, age 64, of New Providence, our most beloved mother, sister, grandmother & aunt. She lost her struggle on April 5, 2021.
Eileen was born in Summit on October 3, 1956. She was the first-born child to her loving parents, the late Bernard F. and Monica T. Cunningham (née Casey).
The family first lived in Maplewood, before settling in Millburn where Bernie and Mona welcomed five additional children into the Cunningham family. There were three girls and three boys all together in a beautiful, large Irish Catholic family. Being the oldest sister, Eileen always loved to help take care of her younger brothers & sisters. They all have wonderful memories of her while they were growing up. She loved to spoil them.
Eileen fondly recalled her youth growing up in Millburn and was always so proud of the treasured lifelong friendships she forged with so many people that lasted throughout her entire life.
Eileen went on to become a nurse after high school. She had a natural vocation. It was her calling to care for others, especially the elderly and terminally ill. She cared for so many people from all walks of life throughout her career as a private duty nurse, many of which she cared for several years with great care and love up until their peaceful passing. Their families all hold a special place in their hearts for the love and support, dignity and care Eileen provided their loved ones in their final years. Later in her career she transitioned to her other natural talent of caring for children. Eileen was a long-term nanny for several families for many years. She cared for the children in her charge with the same level of care and love she would her own children. Eileen truly lived a life of care and service unto others.
When a family member or close friend had a loved one that was terminally ill, Eileen was more than often asked to help care for them because of her knowledge, level of care and tender heart. She caringly and gently was at the side of countless people at the end of their life. She made certain that transition for them was comfortable, peaceful and dignified.
Some people never find their calling in life, however, Eileen was blessed to know what she was meant to do in this life from a very young age and she did it naturally.
Eileen loved her family and her Irish heritage tremendously. She was always so proud of her parents both emigrating here from rural Ireland, becoming US citizens, and working so very hard to make a life and provide for their family with very little at the beginning. She loved each of her five siblings deeply, and especially loved her children, nieces & nephews and other family unendingly. She was head over heels in love with her two grandchildren and felt such incredible joy whenever she saw them.
Eileen would light up any room she walked into and would always be there to help someone in need. She was a fiercely loyal friend and had a countless amount of them, all of whom she treasured. It was often said, and proven several times, that Eileen could be across the country and cross paths with someone she was a friend of. She could see someone who she lost touch with years ago and easily pick up where they left off. Eileen was an incredibly giving person. She gave from her heart and always went out of her way to make others feel special and valued. Most notably was that she gave her unconditional love to her family and friends for her entire life. Eileen always remembered to send a card or a note on a birthday or holiday, and often a small gift to show how much she cared.
Eileen loved her time living in Brielle, NJ for many years and enjoyed the peace and serenity of the ocean. She was a talented home decorator and loved to keep her home and flower gardens beautiful. She was a wonderful entertainer and loved to host parties, and she loved the holidays.
Eileen will be deeply missed by her family & friends. To know Eileen was to love her.
We deeply mourn our terrible loss of her but take comfort in knowing that her soul is at peace and also knowing that her memory lives on in each of our hearts forever.
Eileen was predeceased by her beloved parents, Bernard F. and Monica T. Cunningham; her aunt, Elizabeth Casey; and her nephew, Edward Olearczyk. She is survived by one son, Douglas R. Loikith and his wife, Katie of Madison; one daughter, Christine Briggs and her companion, Alex Heimbuch of Tinton Falls; her three sisters, Theresa Filippone and her husband, Frank and Monica Olearczyk and her husband, Edward; three brothers, Bernard Cunningham and his wife, Coleen, Shaun J. Cunningham and his companion, Debbi Picorale, and Michael V. Cunningham; two cherished grandchildren, Jane & Ryan Loikith; eight nieces & nephews, and many beloved aunts, uncles, cousins & dear friends.
Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend a visitation held at the Paul Ippolito Summit Memorial Home, 7 Summit Avenue, Summit on Sunday, April 11, 2021 from 1:00PM to 5:00PM. A Liturgy of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Vincent Martyr Church, 26 Green Village Road, Madison on Monday, April 12, 2021 at 10:00AM. For those that wish, you may attend the Funeral Liturgy virtually via livestream by visiting www.svmnj.org at 10:00AM. Interment at St. Rose of Lima Cemetery in Short Hills will be held privately for the family.
Until we meet again, Beannachtai libh go bhfeictear aris sibh.
In lieu of flowers, please make charitable contributions in Eileen’s memory to St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105