Headley Cunningham hailed as a man of impeccable integrity
Family members, government representatives, and other well-wishers gathered yesterday to pay tribute in speech and song to the late Honourable Headley Washington Cunningham, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, in an official funeral service at the Mt Carey Baptist Church in Anchovy, St James.
The two and a half-hour service, which was presided over by host pastor the Reverend Kevin Stewart, saw family members and representatives of the political directorate giving glowing recollections about Cunningham, who was also a former member of Parliament for Northeast Westmoreland. Songstress Karen Smith and saxophonist Fitzroy Minott gave rousing musical renditions in between testimonies.
While presenting the eulogy, daughter Janet Kerr remembered her father as a man of upright character who never compromised his principles.
"Headley Cunningham personified the word 'integrity'. He was not a part of any activity or scheme that would diminish, minimise, or otherwise jeopardise his character," said Kerr.
"My father had a quiet dignity, respecting himself the way he respected others. He was humble, never elevating himself above anyone. My father was a teacher of all things, and his method was simple: he taught by example."
Headley Washington Cunningham was born on October 12, 1929, in Darliston, Westmoreland. He was the youngest of three children for his parents, Frank Cunningham and Estella Maxwell. He attended Cornwall College in Montego Bay, St James.
After he graduated from school, he worked as an accountant at the Public Works Department in Kingston before he went off to pursue a law degree in England.
Cunningham began his legal career in 1967, eventually serving as president of the Cornwall Bar Association. He served as Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1989 to 1993 and was appointed as a member of the Privy Council of Jamaica in 1998.
In 2007, Cunningham was conferred with the Order of Jamaica for his outstanding service in the field of law.
He passed away on September 22, at the age of 88, following a period of illness.
Following his funeral service yesterday, he was interred in the churchyard at Mt Carey.