Mary Joan Mulvihill Cunning | Obituary

Mary Joan Mulvihill Cunning

Mary Joan Mulvihill Cunning passed away peacefully in her home on Balboa Island on April 7, 2021. She was the third child of Ethel and Joseph Mulvihill. “Joan” was raised in Glendale, with older brothers William and Patrick, younger brothers John and Michael, and younger sister, Margaret (Peggy) Mulvihill Gudelman.
Joan attended Holy Family Elementary and Holy Family Girls High School, class of 1948, where she made many Lifelong Friendships! Then went on to become an active and enthusiastic student at Glendale Community College.
Next, she worked in business for over a decade at So. Calif. Gas Co. During this time, Joan met and married “Jack”; John Francis Cunning in 1953. Jack was a very popular History teacher at both Clark Middle School and Crescenta Valley High School. During summer breaks, he began working in Real Estate, selling properties, many of which were on Balboa Island. While working the market there, they purchased a rental property and thus started a side business.

To help Jack with their growing side business, Joan returned to school and received her teaching degree from CSULA. Soon they purchased more rental properties including a Hawaiian condo, for fun and profit! Joan and Jack also loved worldwide travel; mainly living, and working in Glendale but always enjoying their vacation time. At this point, Joan had become a valued mentor and friend, in her position as career counselor for many years of Hoover High School students. Even today, former students continue to remember her advising them to “Follow Their Dreams!”
Jack’s untimely passing in 1988 was a loss to Joan and to all who knew him! However, Joan continued maintaining and visiting their properties on Balboa Island becoming a friendly and welcoming fixture of Amethyst Ave. Always vibrant and outgoing, Joan made friends with all she met. She had a smile and a story to tell anyone who stopped to chat. Guests would know that if she was not at home, they could simply walk down to end of the street to find her Sunning on the sand with friends!
While still teaching, Joan became an executive producer of the first African language film, which was filmed and directed by her nephew Ronald Mulvihill. This film received critical acclaim and was featured at the first “55 Film Festival.”
After retiring, Joan moved full time to her small beach cottage on Balboa Island. There, she began making plans for building her dream “French Chateau!” Joan did extensive research on every detail, directing the architect who made her dream a reality! Finally, 10 years ago, with the help of her brother-in-law Bill Cunning, her long-time friend Sally Getzelman and encouragement of many, many more, she took occupancy of one of the most beautiful homes on the island!
Even in retirement Joan continued to advise and encourage young people, many of which were her Godchildren; 50 nephews and nieces, their spouses, and children. Thus, “Follow your Dreams!” Lives On!!
Joan is already, “Dearly Missed!”
Further arrangements are pending, including burial at Mission San Fernando Cemetery.