UPDATED: Family, friends shocked by death of former DeKalb School Board member Jesse “Jay” Cunningham
Friends placed a memorial of flowers and balloons in front of Jesse's Restaurant & Lounge, located in the Wesley Chapel Crossing Shopping Center in South DeKalb. Mr. Cunningham was remembered on April 7 at the Cultural Exchange Community Breakfast hosted by Stonecrest City Councilman Rob Turner and his wife, DeKalb School Board member Vicki B. Turner. The packed audience held a moment of silence to remember Mr. Cunningham.

JJC !
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July 4, 1959—April 6, 2018

 

UPDATE – The medical examiner report found that Jesse “Jay” Cunningham died of a heart attack. The viewing for Mr. Jesse “Jay” Cunningham will be held on Sunday, April 15, 2018, noon to 7 p.m., at Gregory B. Levett & Sons Funeral Homes, 4347 Flatshoals Rd. Decatur. A memorial service will be held on Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the funeral home’s chapel. The homegoing celebration will be held at noon on Monday, April 16, at Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church, 1879 Glenwood Ave., Decatur. The Rev. William E. Flipping, Sr. is officiating.

Dead At 58

By Valerie J. Morgan

Friends have placed a memorial of flowers and balloons in front of Jesse’s Restaurant & Lounge, located in the Wesley Chapel Crossing Shopping Center in South DeKalb.

The expressions of love are for former DeKalb School Board member Jesse “Jay” Cunningham, who owned the restaurant. Cunningham died suddenly sometime Friday morning. He was 58.

Cunningham, who was elected in 2006 and served on the School Board for eight years, also was remembered this morning (April 7) at the Cultural Exchange Community Breakfast hosted by Stonecrest City Councilman Rob Turner and his wife, DeKalb School Board member Vicki B. Turner. The packed audience held a moment of silence to remember Cunningham.

Cunningham was a well-known champion for MLK, McNair and Southwest DeKalb high schools, as well as Flat Rock and Narvie J. Harris elementary schools.

The family is awaiting an autopsy from the medical examiner to determine the exact cause of death.

Evelyn Cunningham said her husband was not feeling well earlier in the week and had complained of feeling tired. She said last year, Cunningham suffered a heart attack and had a mild stroke earlier this year.

“He was running the business, putting in a lot of hours,” said Evelyn Cunningham, who received church members and friends at her home throughout today.

Jay Cunningham had recently re-opened his restaurant after renovating the bar and grill to give it a new look with the help of his brother, Malcolm Cunningham. The restaurant was running radio ads and Jay’s son, Brandon Cunningham, also was helping to promote the business through social media.

Lisa Cunningham, one of Jay Cunningham’s sisters, said their family is taking the loss of their loved one very hard. His mother is overcome with grief.

“We knew Jay had dealt with some health issues, but he was looking forward to a successful future. He had gotten a new wardrobe and he was looking good,” said Lisa Cunningham. “It’s just a bitter pill to swallow.”

Lisa Cunningham said Jay was not only a brother, but a father figure to her and her siblings. She said Jay was the eldest of seven children, six of whom have the same biological mother and father.

“He helped raise the six of us when our father died,” said Lisa Cunningham.

Cunningham’s three children and two stepchildren, who are all adults, also were dealing with the blow in their own way. Brandon, said today that he was still trying to process his dad’s death and was unable to say much more than that. Cunningham’s step-daughter, Erica, had been crying all day. Erica went live on Facebook hours after learning of his death to express her sadness.

“Pray for my family because we definitely do need it,” Erica said through tears.

Funeral arrangements will be announced later.

 

 

 

 

On Common Ground News


24 comments

  • Doris

    April 8, 2018 at 10:04 am

    My condolences to the family….so sorry for your loss…praying for the family.

    Reply

  • Charles Edward Glover

    April 8, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    God is with you all He will see you through your lost.
    I am praying for the family.God is Blessing you all right now.

    Reply

  • Dr. Fannie H. Tartt

    April 8, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    Jay Cunningham was a blessing to the Dekalb County School District, especially in South DeKalb, where he worked diligently to trailor park schools into brick & mortar buildings. Being an effective Board Member was his passion. Jay Cunningham leaves a legacy that we will always remember

    Reply

  • JeniseJackson

    April 8, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    So sorry for your loss,will keep you in my thoughts and prayers,may Jehovah give you strength.

    Reply

  • Dr. Fannie H. Tartt

    April 8, 2018 at 11:30 pm

    Jay Cunningham was a blessing to the Dekalb County School District, especially in South DeKalb, where he worked diligently to turn trailor park schools into brick & mortar buildings. Being an effective Board Member was his passion. Jay Cunningham leaves a legacy that we will always remember

    Reply

  • Robert, Mary and Robyn King

    April 9, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    Words cannot express the depth of our sorrow over the passing of Jay Cunningham. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. He has been such a blessing to many and our heartfelt love and sympathy will forever be available.

    Reply

  • Esther Thomas

    April 9, 2018 at 8:18 pm

    Jay Cunningham was a brave soldier with
    a caring spirit! His commitment to
    DeKalb County Schools will always
    be remembered. I am proud of his
    “Dream” to make a difference in the lives
    of our youth.
    My condolences to the family!

    Reply

  • Patricia Barnes

    April 9, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    I would like to send my prayers and condolences to the family. My God wrap his arms around you all and comfort you.

    Reply

  • Diane Lay

    April 9, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    Jay was a great friend !!! He will be missed

    Reply

  • Amahl Lipkins

    April 10, 2018 at 4:31 am

    We The South Bay Project arrived to perform at Jesse’s Restaurant and Lounge Friday night only to receive the sad news about his passing we were all taken back and in disbelief he always treated our band like family. We’re going to miss you Jesse.Thank you for believing in us and allow us to call Jesse’s Restaurant and Lounge Home. May God keep his arms of protection around your family.

    Reply

  • Amahl Lipkins

    April 10, 2018 at 4:39 am

    R.I.P Jesse Cunningham from The South Bay Project Family Keith Stalworth, Thom Coleman, Kam Showers, Richard Rollie, Whiz Mitchell, Kahsi Butler, David Morrow and band leader Amahl Lipkins we wanted to help make your vision come true.

    Reply

  • Tony sylvester

    April 10, 2018 at 11:00 am

    Jay was a good man and genuinely concerned about the well being of other people, especially the children of dekalb county. We have loss a good and loving man. My condolences go out to his family.

    Reply

  • Tony sylvester

    April 10, 2018 at 11:02 am

    Jay was a good man who cared deeply about his community and the well being of kids in dekalb county. My condolences go out to his family

    Reply

  • Dr.Michael Grant

    April 10, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    Jay Cunningham was a true drum major for the south dekalb area thank you for your service brother..

    Dr. Michael Grant

    Reply

  • Averil McCrary

    April 10, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    My condolences to the family. You are most certainly in my prayers.
    Jake will be dearly missed by FVSU alumni and Esquire XIII Frat. Inc.
    RIP
    ‘Be Ye Always Gentleman’

    Reply

  • Cherry Hill Crumpton

    April 10, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    I am so sorry for your lost, I pray for healing in the name of Jesus. I pray for your continued encouragement, peace and strength, I pray you remember that earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal. Rest Jay, you will truly be missed.

    Reply

  • Shirley Melton

    April 11, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    With Deepest Sympathy, Jesus said, “He will never leave us nor forsake us. My prayer is that “GOD” will give you that peace that passes all understanding. He is a very present help in the time of need,God Bless You.

    Reply

  • Jessie Stokes

    April 12, 2018 at 12:36 am

    My condolences to the family/ gone but never forgotten may you rest in peace/ my dear classmate & friend

    Reply

  • Davis Cooper

    April 12, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    Jay, the opportunity to have known you- simply priceless.

    Reply

  • Janice

    April 13, 2018 at 10:35 pm

    With my deepest sympathy to the family.y I pray for your strength in God to get through this difficult time

    With Love, Janice Diggins

    Reply

  • Janice Barrett

    April 14, 2018 at 8:11 pm

    Rest in peace Jay,may God continue to bless your family at this time. Class mate from Ft.Valley University.

    Reply

  • Elita

    April 14, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    My sincere condolences to a wonderful soul. I send prayers to his family and friends. RIP

    Reply

  • Kathy Ramsey

    April 14, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    Jay. May your wings fly high and may your soul rest in peace.you will always be a King, when I speak of you.
    We have had some good times, Walker high war Hawks for life.

    Reply

  • Harriett Washington

    April 15, 2018 at 2:22 am

    Screaming from Stone Mountain my sorrow and Condelences to Jay and Malcolm Cunningham familyin the loss of husband,son,brother, dad, friend and Dekalb what a loss of our dear friend! Too God be his Glory because his love is Genuine and purrit

    Reply

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