Lee Cunningham was born Alice Clara Cunningham in Brooklyn N.Y.
to John and Flora Cunningham. She left us on August 25, 2019 at
the age of 94.
A life as a bon vivant was always in the cards for Ms. Cunningham.
Lee and her sister joined the USO during WWII and this began her
love of international travel. Lee traveled the world collecting art
and amazing stories.
It was the stories that Lee was best known for. There were so many
stories that Lee would chronical them in an annual Christmas Diary
that she would send to friends and family. These were always late,
which only added to the excitement when they would finally arrive!
These letters were a colorful account of her many adventures.
Lee became a real estate broker and purchased her first apartment
buildings in her 20’s. At one of the multiple parties she attended she
met Salvador Dali.
She also met her third husband. It was this husband who brought her to her new home in 1964. Having heard that she could get a fast divorce in Nevada, Lee jumped into her Mustang convertible and discovered Incline Village.
It was here that she continued her life in real estate, took up golf,
began to breed champion Burmese cats, and invented a feline
incubator that turned into ThermoCare and a new career.
She called her beautiful condo overlooking Lake Tahoe home for
over 35 years. This was the primary location for her cattery, Mme.
Butterfly. It was also where she held legendary cocktail parties,
which allowed her to hold court telling even more stories of her
Lee credits her guardian angel for her charmed life. She will be
sorely missed by those who loved her including the many friends
she made in Incline Village, and later in Reno.
Lee was predeceased by her only sibling, Doris Traeger, and cousins Shirley Keller (nee Steiermann) and Fred Steiermann.
Condolences and memories may be sent to the family by email to
Laura Steiermann Strafacci at firstname.lastname@example.org.