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Retired Army Col. Patrick Cunningham laid to rest at Arlington

Retired Army Col. Patrick J. Cunningham, who served for nearly 25 years as the executive director of the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park, was laid to rest Monday with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

About a dozen representatives from the park attended the burial along with Cunningham's family members. Cunningham is credited with turning the park into a Canalside attraction. Cunningham, 78, had died March 24.

"We're very honored to be here and happy to recognize his 25 years leading the park," said Anthony Diina, vice chairman of the park's Board of Directors. "We're proud of his work."

Donald A. Alessi, the park's board chairman, said the delegation from Buffalo wanted to pay special tribute to "Pat's commitment both to the to the park and to the military. We're here to pay our respects to a long time leader and friend."

Col. Cunningham's funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. (Photo courtesy of Donald A. Alessi)

Among other local mourners who attended the burial were Anthony F. Caruana, a board member; retired Coast Guard Capt. Brian W. Roche, the park's executive director; and John M. Branning, superintendent of ships at the park.

Cunningham was buried beside his wife, the former Sheila Shivens, who died in 2014.

Col. Patrick J. Cunningham, director of Naval & Military Park dies; guided park through lean times

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