Our law firm lost a good employee, and a good friend, in Charlie Cunningham. After a protracted battle with a terminal illness, Charlie passed away on November 4, 2009. He was 79 years old, but had the vigor of someone half his age.

He lived a full life including serving honorably in the United States Air Force along with a very successful 30+ year career as an engineer for Norfolk Southern railroad. Charlie loved the Commonwealth. He was born in Portsmouth, attended St. Paul’s Catholic Church, and was a member of the Knights of Columbus 418. He was also an active member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLET) union.

“Charlie Cunningham was a hard-working and dedicated union Brother for a long, long time,” said BLET Active President Paul Sorrow. “He served the members of Virginia well throughout his career, and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him. I extend deepest sympathies to his family.”

Charlie joined Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan over 20 years ago. We were always impressed by his extensive knowledge of FELA railroad injury law, the U.S. Railroad Retirement Benefits system, and railroading in general. He was a great help to all of the attorneys and provided invaluable insight with numerous cases.  

“He was a classy guy who treated everyone with respect,” said attorney John C., “Charlie would tell it like it was, but always with a smile on his face. We were all proud to be on his team, especially in recent years as he worked through some health challenges with dignity.”

Charlie is survived by his daughter, Rebecca Heroux and husband Dustin with their children Kaytlynn and Kelly Heroux; three stepchildren, Ricky L. Turner, Sheryl T. Bryan, Brian Turner, all of Portsmouth; seven step-grandchildren; sister, Mae Cunningham Wakefield; niece, Mary Ann Viola; and his former wife, Jacqueline Skipwith Cunningham.

Everyone at Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan is deeply saddened by this loss and we extend our deepest condolences to Charlie’s family.  He will be truly missed.