We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Thatcher's Funeral Home, Inc.
Thelma Jeanette Cunningham (affectionately known as Puddin) was born December 13, 1946, in Kansas City, Kansas. She was a faithful servant to God, family, and friends. She leaves a legacy of love and memories that will live forever in the lives and hearts of many. Thelma’s Story!
How do you live your dash?
These are thought provoking words that I have tried to live by for many years. Just know that I have tried to live my dash the way my Mama did. Reaching out, pulling close, caring about people, sharing the blessings, and trying to make life better for everybody.
You are born and then you die. OK, I was born on December 13, 1946, to the single most awesome woman in the world, Helen Thelma Reed. My dash was lived in the beginning as the second child that God allowed this lady to deliver. The years brought joy and happiness as she later married Tommie Randall, who claimed me as his own and loved me as a father.
There are nine years between my oldest brother, Robert “Bobby” Gordon and myself. There was five years between my youngest brother, Philip Randall, and yours truly. So, you see I was really an only child for what seemed like an eternity. The years that followed added three sisters to the brook, Bernice Lillie Randall Jackson, Judith Carol Randall McElwee and Leona Marie Randall Franklin.
Helen encouraged us to be the best we could be. Grant, Northeast, and Sumner were the schools who nurtured her belief in me. One thing I remember very vividly was when other kids were out playing, I would be inside writing “ovals”, you know that penmanship exercise that most of us had to contend with back then. She always said my handwriting was just not good enough. She was a seamstress of sorts and made many strange looking outfits for me to participate in numerous projects.
The encouragement she gave to us has generated full and successful lives. All six of us own our homes. All six of us have raised our families. All six of us worked or is still working to make our lives and those around us better.
God blessed me with two beautiful children, Rodney C. Cunningham, and Rhonda M. Cunningham Green; three beautiful grandsons, Josef Tomaz (JT), Rodney, Jr., and Denzel; eight great grandkids Day’a, Paige, Khi, Kevon, Keion, Jackson, Amarion and a very special and gifted, great granddaughter, Miss Jada Michelle Elise Cunningham. Rodney blessed me with a daughter in love, Vonya Cunningham who is one of the sweetest, caring, considerate and committed individual I know. Rhonda also blessed me with son in love, Charles Bailey Jr. who is kind, giving, and selfless. We can truly say, WE ARE FAMILY. Family through the good times and the not so good times. There has never ever been anything that I asked my children to do that they did not at least…try.
The man I love, Reverend Huie Tomaz Cunningham, is my soul mate. We traveled many highways and airways together doing those things and touching those lives that God put in our path. Huie was there for me as God lifted me to a plateau in life that I have never felt worthy of. He encouraged, congratulated, and loved me every step of the way.
I was proud of my husband, my children, my grandchildren, my great grandchildren, my brothers, my sisters, and my friends. You have committed your lives to Christ, and I know you will be the BEST you can be.
To my son, KEEP THE FAITH…GOD DOES NOT PUT ANYTHING ON YOU THAT YOU CANNOT BEAR. To my daughter, KEEP ON BELIEVING THAT THE FUTURE BELONGS TO YOU. Don’t let anyone steal your dream. I am proud of you and your accomplishments. To my grandsons, I leave a legacy for you to fulfill for the rest of your lives. YOU CAN DO ANYTHING IN THIS LIFE AND YOU MUST DO IT WELL. To my nieces and nephews, Tresa, Robert Jr. April, Erick, Shlita, Cassandra, Philip Jr., Rashaud, Cherrise, Jadrian, Jermaine, and James. I encourage you to keep reaching for the stars. Remember we make choices in life, and we must live with those choices…MAKE THE RIGHT ONES.
To Miss Jada, my clone, I pray God’s richest anointing on your life. You are SPECIAL, you are gifted, you have been an absolute blessing in my life, and I will “see you later alligator, after while crocodile”.
To my brothers in law and sisters in law…John (Neco), Darrell, Jimmie, Doug Frances, and Mary, thanks for being a part of my life. To Chester C Owens, Jr., thanks for believing in me and being my brother and friend. To Elma, Ernestine, and Linda thank you for being a special part of my life. Your friendship has been a blessing to my life.
Finally, but in no way the least of these…to my husband (who lives forever in my heart), there are no words that can express my peace and joy that you were a part of my life. Thanks for being a “dad” to my children. You helped me to stretch my wings and on eagle’s wings I have flown a mighty long way. I have gone to that land where joy shall know no end. The land that you preached about for so many years.
To all of you, don’t cry for me……for you see…. GOD ALLOWED ME TO LIVE MY DASH. I will see you all on the other side of Jordan and yes, I will still be trying to tell somebody how to do something.
I love you all, family and friends and I bid you farewell until we meet again. OK, in this non-conventional obituary, I guess you need to know……. I passed away on June 13, 2022.
I realize that some of these persons are gone, but they all still live on in my heart. My loved ones that preceded me in death my husband, Reverend Huie Tomaz Cunningham; mother, Helen Reed Randall; father, Tommie Randall; brother, Philip Sr. (Mary); sister, Bernice (Jimmie); sister, Judy; nephews, Terry; and Marco Sr; and niece, Beverly.
THIS IS MY STORY!
Here you will find a snippet of how Thelma lived her “DASH”.
Thelma education includes Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools, Penn Valley Community College, and Rockhurst College. She obtained Certified Insurance Representative Designation (CISR)in 1995, Certified Professional Insurance Woman Designation in 1996, and Diversified Advanced Education Designation (DAE) in 2002.
Thelma employment began her insurance career in in September 1969 as Bookkeeper of H. W. Sewing & Co., Inc, and obtained her Agent's License in 1972. She was Elected Secretary/Treasurer, H. W. Sewing & Co., in 1974, elected Vice President in 1980. She became President/CEO and principal stockholder in March 1998
The business services include:
President-Insurance Professionals of Greater Kansas City, August 2004.
Appointed to Diversity Task Force-Independent Insurance Agents of America National Association of Female Executives, Inc., featured in 1998 Membership Guide
Kansas Association of Insurance Agents
Professional Insurance Agents of Kansas
Independent Insurance Agents of America
Kansas City Minority Supplier Council
Member of Society of CISR
National Association Insurance Woman (NAIW ) Non-Dues Revenue Task Force
National Association Insurance Woman (NAIW ) Foundation Professional Scholarship Committee
Regional Vice President, Region V National Assn of Insurance Women, International
Greater Kansas City Insurance Association/NAIW- President, Secretary, Treasurer
Women's Chamber of Commerce
Kansas Society of Insurance Women
Heartland Computer Users Group-President
Metropolitan Insurance Council
National Association of Insurance Women, Int.l, Communications Task Force
Gemini Users Group, Region IX Representative, 9 state regions 1985-1989
American Business Women's Association
Insurance Women of Kansas City, Kansas
U. S. Postal Service Customer Advisory Council
Friends of Yates, Inc. (Battered Women's Shelter)-Charter Member
United Way of Wyandotte County Board & Review Council
Kansas Children's Service League/Black Adoption-Past Board Member
Northwest Middle School "Heart to Heart" Communications-Chairman
Blacks and Hispanics Coalition on Infant Mortality-Board Member
Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA)-Past President
Kansas City, Kansas Anti-Crime Commission-Charter Member
Quindaro Area Improvement, Inc.-Charter Member
K. C. Ks. Alcohol & Substance Abuse Prevention & Treatment Advisory Council-Chairman
Kaw Valley Arts & Humanities
Past President, Midwest Conference Women’s Missionary Society
Past President (2nd time around) Kansas Nebraska Women’s Missionary Society
Budget & Financial Estimates Committee Chairman-Fifth District Women’s Missionary Society
Women's Information Bureau International Chairman-African Methodist Episcopal Church, World (Connectional) Women's Missionary Society
Fifth District Women's Missionary Society/AME Church-Second Vice President
PROJECT AMES-(Awareness Ministry for Empowerment Against Substance Abuse serving a 14-state region-Coordinator
Kansas Nebraska Women’s Missionary Society- President (5 years)
Greater Kansas City Ministers Wives & Widows Alliance-Past President
RECOGNITIONS & AWARDS
National Member of the Year AAMGA Award-NAIW National Convention-2001-Greensboro, NC
Insurance Professional of the Year-Region V 2001
Insurance Professional of the Year-Greater Kansas City Insurance Assn. 2001
Who's Who Among America's Business Executives, 1998 & 2003 Edition
"Most Outstanding Woman of Distinction", City of Kansas City, Kansas-Friends
of Yates, Inc., 1994
Kansas Association of Insurance Agents-1995 State of Kansas Outstanding CSR of the Year Award
One of Five Finalists in National/Outstanding CSR of the Year Award
Outstanding Citizen Achievement Award-Governor Joan Finney, State of Kansas
Christian Woman of the Year-Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
One of 50 Most Influential Women in Greater Kansas City
Insurance Woman of the Year-Kansas Society of Insurance Women
Insurance Woman of the Year-Insurance Women of Kansas City, Kansas
Volunteer of the Year-Kansas Children's Service League/Black Adoption
Heart of Gold Award-Northwest Missouri Women's Missionary Society
Outstanding Woman of the Year-Kansas Nebraska Women's Missionary Society
"We Love You" Award-Young People Department/AME Church
Outstanding Business Woman Award-Wy-Co Chapter American Businesswomen
"Special Portrait in Black" Award/Business-Northwest Missouri Women's Missionary Society
"Medallion Award"- Allen Chapel AME Church
PUBLIC SPEAKING OPPORTUNITIES
CWC Speakoff Winner, Local, State, Regional 1993
CWC Speakoff Participant, NAIW National Convention, Vancouver, British Columbia
NAIW National Convention, Baltimore, Md. 1995
Region V, CWC Conductor, Chicago, Ill. 1996
NAIW National Convention, San Antonio, TX. 1997
Region IX, Keynote Speaker, Portland, Or. 1996
Region V, Keynote Speaker, Madison, WI., 1996
Region VII, Luncheon Speaker, Lincoln, NE. 1996
PIA Washington State Convention, Skamania Lodge, WA., 1997
PIA Oregon State Convention, Sunriver, OR., 1997
Graduation Speaker, Roosevelt Elementary School, KCKS, 1997
California State NAIW Conference, Keynote Speaker, Visalia, CA., 1997
Fort Scott Association of Insurance Professionals, Program Speaker, Fort Scott, KS 1997
Missouri State Council, NAIW, Keynote Speaker, November 1997
Oregon State Conference, NAIW, Keynote Speaker, October 1998
K County Insurance Professionals, Banquet Speaker, Portland, Oregon, October 1998
NAIW National Convention, Orlando FL, 1998
Seattle Association of Professionals, Banquet Speaker, Jan. 1999
Columbia Association of Insurance Professionals, Banquet Speaker, 1999
Region I, Regional Conference, Portland, Maine, March 1999
Workshop Presenter, NAIW National Convention, Las Vegas, July 1999
Workshop Presenter, NAIW Leadership Conference, Tulsa, OK, August 1999
Banquet Speaker, Insurance Professionals of Chicago, Chicago, Ill, September 8, 1999
Workshop Presenter, Leadership Training, Milwaukee, WI, Chula Vista Resort, Sept. 17, 1999
North Dakota State Meeting, NAIW, Bismarck, ND, Sept. 24-26, 1999
South Dakota State Meeting, NAIW, Sioux Falls, SD, October 1-3, 1999
Iowa State, NAIW, Sioux City, IA, October 8-10, 1999
Wisconsin State, NAIW, Fond du Lac, WI, October 15-17, 1999
Minnesota State, NAIW, St. Paul, Minn., October 22-24, 1999
Illinois State, NAIW, Schaumburg, Ill, Nov. 5-8, 1999
Missouri State, NAIW, St. Louis, MO, Nov. 12-14, 1999
Insurance Professionals of Chicago, May 2000
St. Paul Association of Insurance Professionals-2000
Insurance Association of Suburban Kansas City-Oct. 2000
CWC Instructor Certification Presenter-NAIW National Convention-Greensboro, NC 2001
Oregon State Meeting, Newport Beach, Oregon, 2001
Yamhill County Oregon Local Meeting, 2001
Region V- Keynote Speaker-Winston-Salem, North Carolina 2001
Region VII Keynote Speaker- Wichita, KS April 2002
Greater Kansas City Insurance Association, Keynote Speaker, June 2002
Keynote Speaker-National Association of Insurance Women-Anchorage, Alaska, May 2002
Insurance Professionals of Chicago, June 2002
Missouri State NAIW Workshop Presenter, November 2002 (How to Say NO)
Mutual of Enumclaw Insurance Company, Banquet Speaker, October 2002
Grinnell Mutual Insurance Company- Keynote Speaker, April 2002
National Association of Insurance Women-Speaker, June 2003
Region I, NAIW-Keynote Speaker, Atlantic City, New Jersey- March 2003
Region 9, NAIW-Keynote Speaker, Missoula, Montana – March 2003
Region 5, NAIW-Workshop Presenter, Minneapolis, Minnesota- March 2003
Region 7, NAIW-Keynote Speaker, Oakland, CA-March 2004
Speaker, American Business Women Association-April 2004
Presenter, NAIW, Pittsburgh, PA- June 2004
Presenter, NAIW Program, Managing Stress, September2006
Presenter, NAIW Program Team Building and Speaker, Region V-October 2006
RELIGIOUS SPEAKING OPPORTUNITIES
St. Paul AME, KCKS
Trinity AME, KCKS
Allen Chapel AME, KCKS
St. John AME, Topeka, Kansas
Bethel AME, KC MO
Guiding Star Baptist, KCKS
First AME, KCKS
St. Luke, KCKS
St. Luke AME, Lawrence, KS
Brookins AME, Oakland, CA
Wayman AME, St. Louis, MO
St. Mark AME, Topeka, Kansas
St. John AME, Omaha, NE
Bethel, Hutchinson, KS
Strangers Rest Baptist Church, KCKS
Grant Chapel, Wichita, KS
Church of God in Christ, Olathe, KS
Workshop Presenter, AME Church, Los Angeles, CA
Workshop Presenter, AME Church, Houston, TX 1997
Ward Chapel AME Church, KCMO
First Baptist Church of Quindaro, KCKS 2001
Grant Chapel AME Church, KCK 2001
St. Paul AME Church, Independence MO 2002
Missouri Lay Convention
St. Luke AME Church, 2004
St. Paul AMEZ Church, 2004
Mt. Carmel COGIC, 2004
AME Workshop, St. Louis, 2004
Writer and Producer of 4 Religious and Musical Plays