Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Dr. Glenn Cunningham (1909--1988) = Track Athlete. Two-time Olympian (1932; 1936). Best known as a world record miler. Glen was born on August 4 to Clinton H. and Rosa Cunningham, both Kansas natives. He was one of eight children: three brothers, Floyd, Raymond and John, and three sisters, Margie, Letha, and Melva. One sibling died of influenza shortly after its birth.
Although Glenn’s mother kept her Bible in a trunk in the attic and his father was leery of organized religion, a young Glenn made a commitment to God at a home Bible study with a simple prayer: “God, I’m sorry I’m a sinner. Please make me all right inside.”
At the age of seven, after his legs were severely burned in a schoolhouse fire accident near Rolla, Kansas, his parents were told by the doctor that he would probably never walk, nor run again. Glenn overcame through sheer grit. He dreamed of running repeatedly to pass the time during his convalescence and once he was on his feet again, he exercised his legs by grabbing the tail of a cow on his father’s farm and letting it pull him around.
He attended high school in Elkhart, then worked to pay his way through the University of Kansas in Lawrence. He joined the Navy in 1944 following the Olympics and more education. After his military discharge, he moved to Emporia where he met his second wife, Ruth Sheffield. She was a praying woman and her prayers were answered as God directed him towards his next career -- having a large family, both natural and foster.
He won numerous awards, but the most important award of all were the blessings of peace and satisfaction provided by Christ in his life.
Dr. Cunningham passed away on March 10, 1988 in Arkansas.
More to Read:
1. 1930 United States Federal Census. Ancestry.com
2. American Men of Olympic Track and Field. By Don Holst and Marcia S. Popp. 2005.
3. Morton County 1886-1986 Cornerstone of Kansas. By Morton County Historical Society.
4. Never Quit. By Glenn Cunningham with George X. Sand. 1981.
5. The Old Timers As I Remember Them. By Chester C. Tucker. c. 1963.
6. Webster’s World Encyclopedia 2000 CD.
7. "Leave It To Miss Annie" By Georgia Tucker Smith. The Allen Press, Lawrence, KS; 1952.
Places to Visit in Kansas:
1. Morton County Historical Society Museum, US Highway 56, Elkhart,
2. Elkhart Sports Hall of Fame
3. University of Kansas Athletic Hall of Fame, Lawrence
4. Kansas State High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame (Inducted 1983)
5. Rolla Cemetery (Floyd Cunningham), ½ mile west, Rolla, Morton Co., KS.