He headed up the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park for nearly 25 years and I was honored to have officiated high school football games with him.  Colonel Patrick Cunningham was laid to rest this week at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. 

Colonel Cunningham was 78 when he died March 24th.  About a dozen representatives of the Naval and Military Park accompanied family members for the ceremonies on Monday.  He was buried next to his wife who died in 2014.

He served in the Army for 30 years before returning home to Western New York in 1989.  He became the Naval and Military Park's executive director in 1993 and remained in that position until he became seriously ill and provided for a succession plan.  The night before his death retired Coast Guard Captain Brian Roche was appointed the new executive director with the intention that Cunningham would remain as executive director emeritus.