Pier’s Cunningham passes

Joe Cunningham was a beloved fixture in downtown Manhattan Beach . Photo by Kevin Cody

To his friends, Joe Cunningham will be remembered as the water polo player who led Mira Costa High School to the #1 National Ranking in 1977, and the Gillis Body Surfing Club star who won two World Body Surfing titles in his age group. To other Manhattan Beach residents, Cunningham will be remembered as the quiet, bearded giant who spent hours each day in a chair he stashed at the beach, staring at the ocean from the pier parking lot. Strand residents employed him as a handyman, and he accepted offers of coffee and food. But he never asked for anything. Cunningham passed away last week of natural causes in a recuperative care facility, according to a statement from his family. The family expressed its gratitude to the community for its kindness to Cunningham over the recent decades. Photo by Kevin Cody


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