Sally E. Cunningham

March 19, 1950 ~ October 16, 2020 (age 70)


Sally E. Cunningham, 70, of Kiawah Island, SC passed away peacefully on Friday, October 16, 2020 in New York, NY. She will not be forgotten, can never be replaced and will be greatly missed.

Born and raised in Southampton, NY, she spent the majority of her adult life in New York City and northern New Jersey, where she and her husband raised their daughters.

Ms. Cunningham was a senior business and human resources consultant with more than twenty five years of experience in executive coaching, human resource strategy and management. She retired as Vice President of Human Resources for the Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation, where she led the HR function for the U.S. company with $1+billion in sales and over 10,000 employees. Prior to Novartis, Ms. Cunningham spent seven years with the Warner Lambert Company as Vice President of HR for Parke Davis NA and later head of HR for the global pharmaceutical division. After retiring, she founded Bethrine Consulting, where she provided executive coaching to newly appointed business leaders on transition leadership. 

An avid golfer, she was a one-of-a-kind woman and a positive role model, living her life with spontaneity and grace. She holds a MA in Sociology from Boston College and a BA from Cushing College.

Ms. Cunningham was predeceased by her husband, Robert J. Gagnon, in 2012. She is survived by her daughters and their spouses Elizabeth Gagnon Phalnikar and Rahul Phalnikar, Princeton, NJ and Katherine H. Gagnon and Brian J. Leistman, Stamford, CT and her granddaughter Eleanor Gagnon Phalnikar. She is also survived by her sisters Suzanne Bangston, Kiawah Island, SC and Maureen Cunningham, Pelham, NY and brothers Thomas Cunningham, Huntington, NY and Timothy Cunningham, Panama City, Panama as well as their families. She was predeceased by her sister Lisa Cunningham, Delray Beach, FL.

The family is holding a private ceremony in Bridgehampton, NY. In lieu of flowers, donations to Memorial Sloan Kettering Breast Center, Medical Director’s Fund, P.O. Box 27106, New York, NY 10087 in her memory, would be most appreciated.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Sally E. Cunningham, please visit our floral store.


Private Interment

Edgewood Cemetery
Edgewood Ave
Bridgehampton, NY 11932

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