Obituary of Annette Cunningham
Annette "Dolly' Mirabella Cunningham
Annette “Dolly” Mirabella Cunningham passed away peacefully on the morning of July 21, 2023. She was surrounded by her devoted family: her loving husband Terry, her five children Terry, Laura, Paul, Maria, and Lisa, and family member McKenna Gibson. Her commitment to her family was her biggest and proudest accomplishment.
Dolly was born July 3, 1948 in Newark, NJ as one of eight children. She is predeceased by her father Michael Mirabella, her mother Rosina Colacurto, and her brother Michael all of whom she held closely in her mind and heart.
Dolly is also survived by her loving daughter-in-law Gia D’Urso Cunningham, and Dolly loved all of her grandchildren Michael, Mia, and Riley.
Dolly had many early jobs. She was one of the first papergirls in her neighborhood, and at a much too young of an age became part-time mother to all of her siblings. While athletic, Dolly often lamented that “girls couldn’t play sports in school” so she became a proficient enough twirler in the marching band. She studied music, but always preferred to be outside. In high school, her beloved cousin Joe Suriano introduced her to Terry, the man who would become her husband, and as the story goes, Terry just kept going over to the Mirabella house and quickly became an integral part of the family. They married on February 26, 1972, and eventually, he invented the phrase, “This is my wife Annette; her real name is Antoinette, but you can call her Dolly.”
Dolly got her BA in early childhood education and also received her real estate license. She taught kindergarten for a few years before embarking on her most important and rewarding role of raising a family. She was a steadfast mother and teacher to her children until her dying day. She also most likely attended more sporting events while her children were in school than most people attend in a lifetime. In short, she was her children’s biggest fan.
On the side, Dolly enjoyed cooking, baking, home remodeling, jigsaw puzzling, gardening, playing cards, playing Jeopardy, playing golf, and playing the stockmarket. She was impressive and humble in all of these endeavors. She was also a passionate fan of professional tennis and Big East basketball, going back and forth between Villanova and Seton Hall.
Dolly will be missed tremendously and will be remembered adoringly.
May she forever rest in peace.
Her family will receive visitors on Monday, July 24 at Dangler Funeral Home in West Orange from 4:00 to 8:00 PM , with a Catholic Mass to follow on Tuesday, July 25 at 10:00 AM at St. Joseph’s Church in West Orange.
In lieu of flowers, her family asks that you donate to the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation https://www.msif.org/
Also in lieu of flowers, her family asks those who feels comfortable to bring with them any plant of sentimental or personal value (her favorite plants were alliums).