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Obituaries » Edith C. Cunnane (nee McGarry)

Edith C. Cunnane (nee McGarry)

January 3, 2020

Burial Date: January 10, 2020

Edith C. Cunnane (nee McGarry) died Friday, Jan. 3.

Edith was a cherished and devoted wife, mother, sister, sister-in-law, niece, cousin, aunt and friend.

She is survived by her beloved husband of 52 years, Jim; her children, Jim Jr. (Jennifer) and Cori Stebelman (Scott); her grandchildren, Victoria, Cade and Brendan Cunnane and Caitlin, Maggie and Bridget Stebelman, her siblings Charlie McGarry (Judy) and Maureen Becker (Michael); and many relatives and friends.

Edith grew up in Philadelphia with her beloved four siblings, her father Neil and her mother Marge. Her family founded Drexel Hill Furniture and it was a loved part of her family’s life. Her family also spent time each summer in Ocean City, New Jersey and it was a treasured spot for Edith, her children and grandchildren.

Edith obtained a degree in psychology from Immaculata University in Philadelphia; thereafter she worked as a teacher and basketball coach.

After marrying Jim and having two children, she moved to Chicago and then onto St. Louis, where she earned a master’s degree in counseling from Webster University and worked as a substance abuse counselor.

Throughout her life Edith was a community volunteer and activist, philanthropist, civic leader and supporter of social services. Edith had an endless desire, willingness and ability to help others.

Edith was most proud to be the cornerstone of the St. Patrick Center, which she founded in 1982.

St. Patrick Center is a multi-faceted, nationally recognized social service agency that helps homeless individuals and those at risk help themselves.

In her tenure at St. Patrick Center, she recruited and mobilized more than 3,000 volunteers and developed numerous innovative programs.

Edith was also proud to work in public service, first for Congressman Jim Talent and later as a St. Louis County Council member in 1997. She also valued her board positions with the St. Louis County Library, the Today and Tomorrow Education Foundation and many other professional affiliations over the past 40 years.

Edith received numerous awards and acknowledgements, including the United Nations Human Rights Award (1986), St. Louis Women of Achievement Award (1986), Sovereign Military Order of the Knights of Malta (1989), President of the United States — Thousand Points of Light Award (1991), Leadership St. Louis — Community Leader Award (1991), The St. Louis Award (1991), United Way of St. Louis — Volunteer of the Year (1992), the Archdiocese of St. Louis — Order of St. Louis King (1992) and Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters — University of Missouri – St. Louis (1994).

For the past 20 years, Edith treasured the friends and experiences and weather she had while in Naples, Florida. Edith was a lover of music, especially Irish music and Neil Diamond, an avid reader and a competitive game player, particularly Parcheesi and miniature golf.

Edith, known as Granny E to her six grandchildren, cherished their time together singing, reading and especially playing games. Edith may have been best known for sending cards and letters to so many in her life and often at exactly the time they were most needed. Today and going forward she would want us all to rejoice in celebration of her life.

A funeral mass was held Jan. 10 at Incarnate Word Parish in Chesterfield, followed by a celebration of life and family greeting at Old Warson Country Club.

In lieu of flowers, donations to St. Patrick Center, 800 N. Tucker Street, are appreciated.

On Jan. 14, the County Council passed a resolution honoring Cunnane for her service.

South St. Louis County News
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