Biography of Ira C. Cunningham
Oregon Biographies





Ira C. Cunningham, engaged in the insurance business in Portland, was born in Aurora, South Dakota, May 26, 1880, a son of Robert J. and Lucy A. (Quackenbush) Cunningham. The father was born on a farm in Ripley county, Indiana, and the mother in the state of New York. Their marriage was celebrated in Rochester Minnesota, and they are now residents of Long Beach, California.

Ira C. Cunningham spent his youthful days in South Dakota, attending the public schools of Brookings, to which place his parents removed when he was a young lad. He also pursued a course at a business college at Rochester, Minnesota, leaving the latter institution at the age of nineteen years, subsequent to which time he devoted three years to the conduct of his father's farm in Minnesota. He went to. Minot, North Dakota, in 1903, and there engaged in the grocery business for three years and then removed to Long Beach, California. In February, 1907, he turned his attention to the business of selling insurance as representative of the Occidental Life Insurance Company of California, and in that state remained until July 31, 1909, when he came to Portland, representing the Occidental Life Insurance Company as general agent. At that time the company had not a single policy in Oregon. Mr. Cunningham was active in introducing the company into the state and in August, 1917, the Occidental, having bought out the Union Pacific Life Insurance Company, placed Mr. Cunningham in charge of the combined business in Portland and the branch offices in Tacoma, Seattle and Spokane, thus making him northwest manager for the Occidental Life Insurance Company in all departments, with territory including Oregon, Washington, and Northern Idaho. Throughout these states he has been instrumental in establishing many agencies and the business has grown to large and substantial proportions. Some of the elements of his success are the thoroughness with which he has organized and systematized the business throughout his territory and his close touch with all of the agents represented in the district, constantly stimulating them by words of council and advice concerning the business and the best methods of conducting their interests.

On the 17th of June, 1903, in Minot, North Dakota, Mr. Cunningham was married to Inez I. Kelsey, and to them have been born three children - Opal June; Genevieve Arletta; and Roberta Edell. Mr. Cunningham is connected with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, and with the Chamber of Commerce of Portland. He is president of the Montavilla Welfare League, which is a civic organization for the betterment of that part of the city. His political endorsement is given to the republican party and during the war he served in connection with the Library loan, the Y. M. C. A., and the Red Cross drives, being captain of one of the Liberty loan teams. His religious faith is that of the Methodist Episcopal church and he is particularly active as a Sunday school worker, serving as superintendent of the school. Mr. Cunningham's best church work has been in the Methodist Episcopal City Church Extension Society, of which he is the treasurer and a member of the executive committee. Mrs. Cunningham is prominent in church circles and is a model mother to her three beautiful children. He is also one of the committeemen in the Y. M. C. A., in connection with which he is an excellent volley ball player. His labors have been extremely effective and resultant in behalf of the Y. M. C. A., and through that channel he has done much to aid young men.

From:
History of Oregon Illistrated
Vol. 3
BY: Charles H. Carney
The Pioneer Historical Publishing Company
Chicago - Portland 1922


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