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AAE Honors Past President (’87-’88), the Late Charles (Chuck) Cunningham, D.D.S.

The AAE wishes to pay tribute to the late Charles (Chuck) Joseph Cunningham, D.D.S., AAE Past President (’87-’88) and Coolidge Award recipient.

(From “Weekly Dental Update” newsletter, May 13, 2021 edition, by Rick Freedman, RDML, DC, USN  Chief, Navy Dental Corps):

Charles (Chuck) Joseph Cunningham, D.D.S., passed away the morning of May 3, 2021 in Littleton, Colo., at the age of 88 while surrounded by his loving children. CAPT Cunningham was born in Dyersville, Iowa on the front porch of his family’s home. His family moved to La Crosse, Wisconsin at the beginning of World War II where he attended Holy Cross Primary School and later graduated from Aquinas High School in 1951. CAPT Cunningham attended St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota before transferring to Marquette University where he completed his pre-dental education and received his D.D.S. in 1957.

Read the tribute in full.

(From memorial posted on

Dr. Cunningham met Anita Carol Pelot on a blind date in La Crosse, Wis., and courted her for four years before becoming married on May 30, 1959. They were happily married for over 53 years.

Upon his graduation from Marquette University Dental School, Chuck entered the U.S. Navy Dental Corps where he served for 22 years and had numerous assignments around the globe. His last military assignment was at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, where he served as a consultant to the White House for endodontics, his dental specialty.

Following his retirement from the Navy, Chuck became an associate professor at the University of Kentucky, College of Dentistry. Chuck and his family lived in Lexington, Kent., for 14 years before he became a professor of dentistry at the University of Florida, College of Dentistry in 1991. Chuck retired from full-time teaching in 1996, but continued to work at the University, teaching part-time until moving to Littleton, Colorado in December of 2019 to be closer to his family.

Chuck is well known for his community involvement, from being the president of the PTA at his children’s high school, co-organizing the first annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in Lexington, Kentucky, committee positions at Catholic Charities in Gainesville, Fla., to helping to make the Octoberfest celebration at his beloved Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Gainesville, Florida, a success.
Read the complete memorial here.

Captain Cunningham was honored both at the University of Kentucky and the University of Florida as the clinical Teacher of the Year.  He also received the lifetime Edgar D. Coolidge award, the highest award presented by the AAE for outstanding contributions during his professional career to dentistry, the Endodontic specialty, and the community at large. Following his retirement from the Navy, he was awarded the “Civicism” award for outstanding leadership in service to the Navy, dentistry and patriotism at the Naval Hospital, Bethesda, Maryland.

Captain Cunningham was a lifetime member of the AAE, American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, American College of Dentists and International College of Dentists.  He also served as President of the American Board of Endodontists. During his Navy career, he was active in numerous local and state dental associations. He lectured throughout the United States and in Europe and Mexico.

Read Dr. Cunningham’s Past President Recollections, originally published in JOE.

Captain Cunningham will forever be remembered as a wonderful person who made a great impact on the dental world and the endodontic specialty.