Monday, February 29, 2016

Jack and Jerry Cunningham... Lifeguard Brothers

L2R, Jack and Jerry Cunningham... back in the day.  Photo courtesy of Mike Cunningham.

Just in from LACoFD Lifeguard Capt. (Ret.), Mike Cunningham:

Hi Will,

Here are a couple of old photos of my dad, Jack Cunningham, and uncle, Jerry Cunningham back in the day. 

Jerry Cunningham was one of the original Manhattan Beach Surf Club members, with notables like Greg Noll, Dale Velzy, Bing Copeland, and others.

Jerry was a US Navy pilot during the Korean War, and came back to lifeguarding after that.  He participated in the 1952 Olympic Trials with El Segundo Water Polo, and was a finalist for the National Team selection. 

Jerry was elected president of LACOLA for a few terms and was instrumental in lobbying Sacramento in the addition of our lifeguard profession being recognized in law as a true "Safety" agency...A profession where the inherent dangers of our rescue work was finally recognized. This would prove to be invaluable for future retirements of all permanent lifeguards and their agencies.

He rose through the ranks to Assistant Director during the formation of the Department of Beaches and its Director, Dick Fitzgerald. He assisted in the mergers of L A City and Santa Monica as budget saving strategies after the passage of Prop 13.  He later became acting Director of Beaches and was finally appointed Director of Beaches...a position he held until he retired shortly after our merger with the Department of Small Crafts Harbors.

His revenue-generating RV lot in Dockweiler Beach is still in existence and is still the only beach-side RV site in Los Angeles County.

Photo courtesy of Mike Cunningham


*** Many thanks to Mike for sharing his remarks & photos with us.  Rest in peace, Jerry. ***


And as previously advised by Jerry's son, Tim (via our "Lifeguard Alumni"):

Jerry Cunningham: Rest In Peace
From: Lifeguard Alumni
Subject: Passing of Jerry Cunningham
Date: February 6, 2016 at 11:25:29 PM PST

Just received this sad news from Tim Cunningham.


It was with a very sad heart that I inform you that my father, Jerry Cunningham, passed away tonight at 6:30 after a brave 30 hours in Torrance Memorial Hospital. Although he never regained consciousness after suffering a massive heart attack at South End Health Club late morning on Feb. 5, he received the Catholic Last Rites on Feb. 5, and was surrounded by friends and family for the entire 30 hours, and we were with him when he took his final breath exactly four months to the day after his beloved wife of nearly 60 years, Gerrie, passed away. He and my Mom, Gerrie, can now be together once again...

Love and Aloha Dad,



Respectfully submitted,

"County Recurrent" News

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