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Judy Cunning

Judith Elaine Cunning, daughter of James and Arlene (Ripkey) Shuey, was born September 5, 1942 in Ames, Iowa. Judy grew up in Gilbert, Iowa and was active in basketball, band, and choir, including performing as an All-State soloist. While growing up, Judy and her parents would vacation in Canada; camping, fishing and enjoying nature. In 1956, her parents purchased and started Eva Lake Resort. During her high school years, Judy would spend the summers at Eva Lake. After graduating from Gilbert High School in 1960, Judy went to Drake University, majoring in Music and Drama.
On June 24, 1961, she married Dan William Cunning at the Congregational Christian Church in Ames, Iowa. They honeymooned in Colorado and then spent the next two months at Eva Lake Resort, helping to run the business. In the fall of 1961, Dan went to officers' training and then was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, where Judy fulfilled the duties of an officer's wife. In 1963, they returned to Mount Ayr, where they lived for the next 51 years. Judy was very active in the community. She expressed her love for music and drama by being involved with the Moonlighters, Ringgold Singers, and the Princess Theater. She sang at many concerts, weddings and funerals. Judy was a choir director and Sunday school teacher at the First Christian Church, and later was the choir director at the United Baptist Presbyterian Church.
Judy volunteered many hours with Special Olympics, Meals-On-Wheels, local nursing homes, women's shelters, David and Stacy's activities, and community events, including the Scottish heritage celebrations. She was also a member of Chapter CK PEO. Judy served as a special education teacher, and when the First Christian Church sponsored a re-located Vietnamese family in the 1970's, she helped teach them English. In the 1980's, Judy operated the Brass Thimble fabric shop on the square in Mount Ayr. More recently, she founded the Star of Hope Foundation to help women who were victims of domestic violence. Judy was an incredible singer, cook and seamstress, and had a voracious love of reading. She loved the arts, and had a soft spot in her heart for animals. One of her greatest experiences was traveling with Dan to Tanzania and Kenya, Africa as part of an International Cooperating Ministries' mission team.
Judy passed away on October 23, 2014. She was preceded in death by her parents and parents-in-law William Burl and Irene Cunning; aunt Marie Hein; uncle John Ripkey; and grandmother Iva Ripkey.
Those left to cherish her memory include her loving husband of 53 years, Dan, of Mount Ayr; children David Cunning of Mount Ayr, and Stacy Lage and husband C.J. of Urbandale, Iowa; brothers Matthew Shuey of Nevada, Iowa and Shannon Shuey of Canada; brother-in-law Joe Cunning and wife Pat of Wilmington, Delaware; nieces Lisa (Ken) Bachman and Nancy (Joe) Diel; aunts Vera Ripkey, Theda Gammon, Virginia Otto, and Velva (Jim) Hogfeldt; other relatives and many, many good and dear friends.
Memorials are to Star of Hope Foundation and I.C.M. (International Cooperative Ministries).

  • Open Viewing

    October 26, 2014
    12:00 PM to 8:00 PM

    Watson-Armstrong Funeral Home

    205 West Monroe St
    Mount Ayr, IA

  • Family Will Be Present

    October 26, 2014
    4:00 PM to 7:00 PM

    Watson-Armstrong Funeral Home

    205 West Monroe St
    Mount Ayr, IA

  • Funeral Service

    October 27, 2014
    11:00 AM

    United Baptist Presbyterian Church

    Hwy 2 & 169
    Mount Ayr, IA

  • Burial

    Monday October 27 2014

    Rose Hill Cemetery

    Hwy 2 & 169
    Mount Ayr, IA

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Judy Cunning, please visit our flower store.


Dan, my heart and prayers go out to you and your family. You and I go way back. I didn''t know Judy well but knew she had a beautiful voice and asked her to sing at my Mom''s (Ruth Wheelock''s) funeral. I will never forget her beautiful voice. She was a wonderful asset and blessing to Mount Ayr.

Posted by Cynthia (Wheelock) Harper - Pensacola, FL - Friend   October 29, 2014

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

Dear Dan and Dave,
We were saddened to learn of Judy''s death. What a void her passing will leave in your lives. We so enjoyed our times together over the years at Eva Lake. Judy was a most welcoming hostess who loved to share her cooking expertise, her most positive outlook on life and her everlasting love of our beautiful lake.We pray that your many memories of happier times spent altogether will comfort and sustain you through these dark days. You are in our thoughts and prayers. and we extend our deepest condolences to you.
Sincerely, Aileen and Jim, Thunder Bay and Eva Lake

Posted by Jim and Aileen Black - Thunder Bay, Ontario CANA - Eva Lake Friends   October 29, 2014

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

Dan and Family,
We were saddened to read of the passing of your Judy. Thinking of you with prayers as you move forward.
Rex and Winnie Fowler

Posted by Rex and Winnie Fowler - Carlisle, IA - Friend of Dan   October 28, 2014

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

Our thoughts and prayers to Matt and her other family. So sorry, May she rest in peace.

Posted by carol prescott and Niel Nielsen - marshalltown, IA - friends of her brother   October 28, 2014

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

I absolutely loved being able to stop by the Cunnings whenever we were in town, and so glad Jen and I got to visit with Judy this last summer. I will never forget Judy''s laugh! My prayers and love go out to Dan, David and Stacy. God bless!

Posted by Brent & Jennifer McClure - St. Louis, MO - Friend   October 27, 2014

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

So very sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Posted by Duke Burrell - Ankeny   October 27, 2014

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

Dan, David, and Stacy,
My sincerest condolences on the passing of Judith. She was an outstanding woman and cousin. Her smile and warm welcomes were always appreciated, especially on those freezing afternoons after a hunt (even when we returned empty handed). Then there were the many summers at Eva Lake. She was always a positive influence on all of us.

Our prayers and thoughts are with you.

Posted by J. Mark Ripkey - Portland, OR - Cousin   October 27, 2014

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

Dan, David, and Stacey,
I am so sorry to hear of Judith''s passing. I have such great memories of visiting Mt. Ayr with my Dad as a kid during hunting season, and always enjoying a wonderful meal Judith would prepare. I am so glad I was able to spend some time with her in December. Tracy and I send our thoughts and prayers to you during this difficult time.

Posted by Steve Ripkey - Center Sandwich,, NH - Cousin   October 27, 2014

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

Beth and I are so sorry for your loss. You and Judy have been great friends since the early 70s when we first met. As a physician, I should have know she was close to the end when you told me about her port surgery. I wish that we had taken time to come out and see her one last time. We are in LA visiting our grandchildren (Christy''s kids), this weekend so may not be able to make it to your service but will do our best. Please know that we love and appreciate you and will be praying for you. She has finished her life well and you have finished well as a great husband.

Jim and Beth Blessman

Posted by Jim Blessman - Polk City, IA - Friend   October 26, 2014

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

Judy and I were best friends during the years my family lived in Gilbert, back in the 1950s. The picture with her obituary drew my attention just now. It''s very moving for me, really, the way I feel such strong emotions, learning about her death, though I have not seen her for decades.

I have many, many little-girl memories of our playing together at her house and mine. (She used to dress her kitten in doll clothes. For some reason I have always remembered that!) We were in the same class at school and went to church and Sunday school together. She was a fun, like-minded friend whom I remember with tremendous affection. It''s lovely to read about her life. It''s not at all surprising to me, knowing her as I did during our childhoods, that she matured into a talented, loving, Christian woman who shared her talents with great generosity.

I loved her friendship-- her pretty, freckled face--and her musical ambitions.

Posted by Mary (Brown) Howard - Ames, IA - childhood friend   October 25, 2014

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

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