Dr. Ronald Cunliffe
Dr. Ronald Allen Cunliffe of Sparta, Tennessee passed away at his home on August 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 January 20, 1946 to Elma Louise and Alfred Burton Cunliffe in Ypsilanti, Michigan 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 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 is survived by his wife, Eileen Cunliffe of Sparta; daughter, Milissa Short (John) of Sheridan, MI; daughter, Heather McDonald (George) of Cedar Springs, MI; son, Matthew Cunliffe of Sheridan, MI; son, Michael Cunliffe of Sheridan, MI; daughter, Sarah Cunliffe of Grand Rapids, MI; son, Robert Lilligren of Knoxville; son, Daniel Lilligren (Leslie) of Wichita, KS; son, Jesse Lilligren (Mandy) of Denver, CO; spiritual daughter, Theresa Avila of Santa Maria, CA; 11 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild; brother, James Cunliffe (Barb) of Tazwell, TN; sister, Brenda Cross of Sparta; sister, Diana Hayes of Beverly Hills, FL; sister, Linda Bird of Chandler, AZ; and many beloved nieces and nephews also survive.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by brothers, David Clark and Hiram Clark; and sister, Patricia Clark.
The family will be planning a private gathering at a later date.
Online condolences may be made to the family at oaklawnmemorial.com