Wanda Lee May Johnson Cunningham, age 89, of Stillwater, Oklahoma died Sunday, September 10, 2023. Funeral services will begin at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, September 13, 2023 in the Strode Funeral Home Chapel in Stillwater, Oklahoma. A graveside service will begin at 1:00 p.m. Thursday, September 14, 2023 at the Gage Memorial Cemetery in Gage, Oklahoma, followed by an informal reception at the Tom Peer Community Center in Gage. Strode Funeral Home and Cremation is in charge of the arrangements.
Wanda was born August 22, 1934 in Okemah, Oklahoma to James William and Florence Gladys (Gregory) May. She was an only child and the pride and joy of her parents. She was a 1952 graduate of Capitol Hill High School in Oklahoma City, and later graduated with honors with her bachelor's degree in Business Education in 1956 from the University of Oklahoma.
Wanda married Billie Buford Johnson in Oklahoma City in 1958. They moved to Gage, Oklahoma, where they worked together to build the 5-room Fun 'n Sun Motel. Together, they operated the Gage Artesian Beach and ran a drive-in. Wanda also taught school at Gage and Shattuck.
Together, Wanda and Bill had 4 children. Bill died at the age of 39 of adrenal cancer, leaving Wanda a widow with 4 children (ages 1 to 7), the motel and drive-in, and a long-term lease to operate the Beach. She never faltered, raising her family, running the businesses, teaching school, and making time for numerous volunteer activities. Wanda and her children were blessed to have huge support from so many friends in the Gage area.
In 1995, she married Wayne Allen Cunningham in Woodward, Oklahoma. They lived together in Mooreland, Oklahoma for nearly 15 years. Wayne preceded her in death in 2010.
At the University of Oklahoma, Wanda was a member of the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band and OU Mortar Board. Throughout her life, she was a faithful Methodist, participating as a member of Methodist churches in Gage, Mooreland, and Stillwater, Oklahoma; a member of Woodward and Stillwater P.E.O.; a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, and served in many leadership positions in a variety of organizations.
She enjoyed teaching Red Cross swim lessons at the Gage Artesian Beach every summer for more than 20 years (she taught a whole generation in northwest Oklahoma to swim!). She loved gathering with family and friends, serving as a substitute House Mom at OSU sororities and fraternities, and sending greeting cards to friends and family. She was diligent in keeping photograph books of every year since her marriage to Bill Johnson in 1958, and thus leaves a detailed pictorial chronology of her and her family's life.
She received many honors throughout her lifetime, including Oklahoma Academic Coach of the Year, Top 10 Finalist for Oklahoma Teacher of the Year, Gage Citizen of the Year, and Grand Marshal of the 1996 Roadrunner Marathon Parade.
Members of her family include her children Marla Jo Johnson Barnes and husband Joe, Michael Bill Johnson and wife Kristin, Susan Lee Johnson Stansberry, and Steven James Johnson and wife Amy; her grandchildren Ryan Barnes and wife Christyl, Jessica Barnes Robison and husband Brooks, Emily Johnson, Adam Johnson, Drew Johnson, Cheyenne Stansberry, Shelby Stansberry, Cooper Stansberry, Chandler Johnson, Catherine Johnson, and Emma Johnson; and many other family members and friends.
Serving as pallbearers are Joe Barnes, Ryan Barnes, Chandler Johnson, Cooper Stansberry, Adam Johnson, Drew Johnson, Brooks Robison, Morgan Fitzgerald, and Chris Stansberry.
The family extends thanks and appreciation to all family, friends, and caregivers who have loved and supported Wanda along her journey.
The family requests for those wishing to honor Wanda's name do so by contributing to one of the following:
PEO Chapter EP Stillwater, OK 1614 S. Boulder Creek, Stillwater, OK 74074
FUMC, 400 W. 7th Ave., Stillwater, OK 74074
FUMC of Gage, OK, P. O. Box 94, Gage, OK 73843
FUMC of Mooreland, 302 S. Elm St., Mooreland, OK 73852
Stillwater Public Library 1107 S. Duck St., Stillwater, OK 74074
Stillwater Medical Foundation P. O. Box 2408, Stillwater, OK 74076
National Jewish Health, P. O. Box 5898, Denver, CO 80217
Town of Gage, Re: Gage Memorial Cemetery, P. O. Box 328, Gage, OK 73843
University of Oklahoma, Re: Pride of OK Band Programs, P. O. Box 258856, Oklahoma City, OK 73125
University of Oklahoma Education Fund, P. O. Box 258856, Oklahoma City, OK 73125
OSU Emeriti Association, P. O. Box 258818, Oklahoma City, OK 73125
OSU OLLI Lifelong Learning Fund, P. O. Box 258818, Oklahoma City, OK 73125
OSU Alumni Association, P. O. Box 258818, Oklahoma City, OK 73125
American Cancer Society, P. O. Box 25984, Oklahoma City, OK 73125
United Way of Payne County, Re: Stillwater Annual Drive, P. O. Box 308, Stillwater, OK 74076
Alzheimer's Disease Research, 22512 Gateway Center Drive, P. O. Box 1950, Clarksburg, MD 20871-1950