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James E. Cunningham; Ex-Mayor of San Bernardino

June 09, 1992

SAN BERNARDINO — Former Mayor James E. Cunningham, who was the youngest chief executive in the city's history when he was elected in 1947, has died. He was 75.

Cunningham, a native Californian who also served as a state senator and Superior Court judge, died Saturday at his Riverside home, said his nephew, Bill Lemann.

The cause of death was not yet determined by doctors, but Cunningham had been ill with cancer, said Lemann, a San Bernardino attorney.

Elected mayor in 1947 at the age of 30, Cunningham was one of the youngest mayors in the country and, at the time, the youngest ever in San Bernardino.

In 1951, he won the 36th Senate District seat as a Republican and served two terms.

As senator, Cunningham authored bills establishing the California-Arizona boundary and regulating offshore oil drilling.

He was involved in passing legislation to found the University of California's Riverside campus and Cal State San Bernardino.

Cunningham was appointed a judge of the San Bernardino County Superior Court by Gov. Goodwin J. Knight in 1957.

In 1977, he retired from the bench as senior Superior Court judge assigned to Ontario, but continued to serve for some time on a volunteer basis.

Cunningham is survived by his wife, Louise; three daughters; three sons; a brother, Frank, of San Bernardino; and nine grandchildren.

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