Jim and Judy Cunningham of Vinton celebrated their 50th anniversary on July 1, 2017. Their children secretly planned and organized a trip for the entire family to Corolla on the Outer Banks in North Carolina, where they had a house in the Pine Island community.
The family included the Cunninghams’ children, their spouses, and their grandchildren: son Zeph Cunningham with wife Kelly, and daughter Lillian; daughter Heather McGlennon with husband Matt and daughter Riley; and daughter Sarah Mullins with husband Joe and daughters Katie and Amber.
The Cunninghams’ first night at the beach was their anniversary date; their family surprised them with cake, balloons, and decorations on the deck overlooking the ocean. Another day they visited 4×4 Carova Beach, home of the Outer Banks wild horses, which they were fortunate enough to see.
Each day they enjoyed sunrise and sunset on the beach. Each family prepared meals including smoking Boston butts, grilling London broil, and taco night.
Judy Harris married Jim Cunningham on July 1, 1967 at Vinton Baptist Church, with the Rev. Lewis Bates officiating. Her sister, Mrs. Joseph Hendricks Jr., was her matron of honor. Her niece, Melanie Dawn Hendricks, was her flower girl. The groom’s father, Jack Anderson, served as best man. Ushers were Ronnie Callahan and Wayne Hanger.
Immediately following the ceremony, the bride’s parents entertained with a reception at their home. The Cunninghams took a northern wedding trip and returned to reside in Vinton for the past 50 years. They have also been members of Vinton Baptist Church for that length of time.
Judy is a graduate of William Byrd High School. She went on to graduate from Patricia Stevens Career College in Washington, D. C., and was employed by WDBJ Radio for a time. She worked at the Vinton Chamber of Commerce for 37 years. She now works as executive secretary at the Vinton History Museum.
Jim graduated from Jefferson High School and worked at the Hub Pattern Corp. for 41 years. They met through friends.
Judy says that the secret to the longevity of their marriage is “remembering the wedding vows taken; and honoring, respecting, and supporting each other’s individual interests,” as well as “Keep dating your spouse—never stop being your spouse’s boyfriend or girlfriend.”