Marvin A. Cunningham, Sr., a Past Master of Warren Lodge No. 310, Collegeville, and Past District Deputy Grand Master of the 6th Masonic District, was installed Dec. 27 as the 114th R. W. Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.
Bro. Cunningham, 68, the son of Robert and Nellie (Eller) Cunningham, was born in Batavia, IA and grew up in Carbon Cliff, IL. He is a graduate of United Township High School in East Moline, IL, attended various service schools in the Navy, and studied several college night courses and correspondence courses.
He and Rosalie Mae (Brackett) Cunningham were married Nov. 10, 1962, in the Wells Congregational Church in Wells, ME. They now are members of the Bethel Hill United Methodist Church in Lansdale. The couple has two sons, Marvin, Jr., and Robert, and one daughter, Lori (Cunningham) Shumpert. They also have two grandsons and one granddaughter.
The new Grand Master is a very active and busy man, though he has retired twice in his professional careers: first, from the United States Navy and then from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. He enlisted in the Navy in May, 1953, served during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and retired as a Chief Dental Technician in September, 1977. In the Department of Corrections, he was the Manager of Correctional Industries at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford, PA which included operations of a 1,500-acre farm and dairy with a staff of 27 and approximately 450 incarcerated personnel.
Bro. Cunningham was made a Mason in Silvis Lodge No. 898, A.F. & A.M., Illinois, in 1961. He resigned from that lodge in 1980 and the same year was elected to membership in Warren Lodge No. 310, F. & A.M., Collegeville, PA. He served as Worshipful Master of Warren Lodge in 1985.
He served the 6th Masonic District School of Instruction as the Senior Instructor in 1986-87 and as its President in 1987. At the same time, he was the District Director of Project Solomon II.
Bro. Cunningham has been very active in Grand Lodge since 1988 when he began his term as D.D.G.M. of the 6th Masonic District and served until 1995. In 1996, he was elected R.W. Junior Grand Warden; two years later, R.W. Senior Grand Warden; then R.W. Deputy Grand Master, the station he filled until his installation as R.W. Grand Master.
He is a member of the Grand Lodge Committee on the Masonic Homes, serving as the Chairman in 1998-99 of both the Subcommittee for Admissions, Home Assistance and Residential Services and the Subcommittee for Human Resources and as a member of the Subcommittee for Development. He also is a member of the Grand Lodge Committees on Finance, Landmarks, Temple, and Membership and Retention. He served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania. He is a charter member of the Research Lodge of Pennsylvania.
He is a member of York Rite Bodies. In Capitular Masonry, he is a member of Norristown Royal Arch Chapter No. 190 and Excelsior Mark Lodge No. 216; in Cryptic Masonry, Cryptic Council No. 51, Royal and Select Master; and Chivalric, Hutchinson Commandery No. 12, Knights Templar. He also is a member of Mary Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine, Allentown; York Rite College No. 11, Shamokin; Penn Council No., 13, Knight Masons of the U.S.A.
He is a 33º Mason in the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, having been coroneted an Honorary Member of Supreme Council, N.M.J. in September 2000 in Pittsburgh. He is a member of Scottish Rite Bodies in the Valley of Allentown: Muhlenberg Lodge of Perfection, Lafayette Council, Princes of Jerusalem; Bethlehem Chapter of Rose Croix; and Lehigh Consistory.
He is a Shriner in Lulu Temple, Ancient Arabic Order, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, Plymouth Meeting.
His other Masonic affiliations are: Tall Cedars of Lebanon, Norristown Forest No. 31; Royal Order of Scotland; Perkiomen Valley High Twelve Club, where he was the Charter President; Hat and Gavel Club of the 6th Masonic District, where he was President in 1985; Benjamin Franklin Chapter No. 16, National Sojourners and Heroes of '76, Poor Richard Camp, Chapter No. 16.
Bro. Cunningham has been recognized with the Honorary Legion of Honor, Order of DeMolay; as an Honorary Member of the Grand Lodge of Nevada; in the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin Skunk Patrol; and as an Honorary Oklahoma Mason of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Oklahoma.
In addition to his Masonic affiliations, he is a member of the Fleet Reserve Association; National Chief Petty Officers' Association; and American Legion Post No. 203, Schwenksville.