Dr. Ronald Allen Cunliffe
By Kim Swindell Wood | August 23, 2018 7:10 am
Dr. Ronald Allen Cunliffe, of Sparta, passed away at his home, on Aug. 21, 2018, with his beloved wife at his side.
A man who loved to work from his heart and with his hands, Dr. Cunliffe was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
He was born Jan. 20, 1946, in Ypsilanti, Michigan, to Elma Louise Cunliffe and Alfred Burton Cunliffe, and spent the formative years of his life with his large family, in Belleville, Michigan.
Dr. Cunliffe enlisted in the United States Navy after graduating high school and worked aboard the USS Vesuvius in the western Pacific, serving in the 7th fleet. He later served in the Vietnam War as a Naval Corpsman, working with the US Marine Corps. Honored to serve in two branches of service simultaneously, he completed over 200 helicopter rescue missions.
After returning to the United States, Dr. Cunliffe began his secondary education. in Santa Barbara, California. He completed graduate school, in Michigan, becoming a Physician Assistant. Dr. Cunliffe later pursued his doctoral degree, graduating from Michigan State University College of Medicine, in 1985. He was Board certified in both Family and Geriatric medicine and found great satisfaction in providing care to the communities in which he lived. For the latter part of his medical career, Dr. Cunliffe devoted his practice to Post Acute and Long Term Care, embracing the fragile and vulnerable with dignity and compassion. While devoted to providing medical care throughout most of his life, at his core Dr. Cunliffe was a family man.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, David Clark, Hiram Clark; and sister, Patricia Clark.
He is survived by his wife, Eileen Cunliffe, of Sparta; daughter, Milissa Short (John), of Sheridan, Michigan; daughter, Heather McDonald (George), of Cedar Springs, Michigan; son, Matthew Cunliffe, of Sheridan, Michigan; son, Michael Cunliffe, of Sheridan, Michigan; daughter, Sarah Cunliffe, of Grand Rapids, Michigan; son, Robert Lilligren, of Knoxville; son, Daniel Lilligren (Leslie), of Wichita, Kansas; son, Jesse Lilligren (Mandy), of Denver, Colorado; spiritual daughter, Theresa Avila, of Santa Maria, California; 11 grandchildren; one great-grandchild; brother, James Cunliffe (Barb), of Tazwell, Tennessee; sister, Brenda Cross, of Sparta, Tennessee; sister, Diana Hayes, of Beverly Hills, Florida; sister, Linda Bird, of Chandler, Arizona; and many beloved nieces and nephews.
The family will be planning a private gathering at a later date.
Oak Lawn Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.