Harry Cunningham, 85, founder of the K mart Corp., which spearheaded discount mass merchandising. Cunningham began his career with S.S. Kresge Co., a variety store chain. He was named vice president in 1957 and president in 1959. Cunningham created the first K mart discount department store in 1962. When profits of K mart exceeded those of the Kresge dime stores, the two chains merged into K mart Corp. Cunningham served as chairman and chief executive officer from 1967 until 1972. On Wednesday in North Palm Beach, Fla., in his sleep.