Hundreds pay their respects to fallen state trooper

Posted at: 12/19/2013 12:13 PM
Updated at: 12/19/2013 7:15 PM
By: Steve Flamisch

Trooper David Cunniff
Trooper David Cunniff
Photo: New York State Police

LATHAM – Hundreds of family members, friends, and members of the law enforcement community attended calling hours Thursday for a state trooper who died in the line of duty.

David W. Cunniff, 35, of Princetown, died this week after a tractor-trailer slammed into his patrol car during a traffic stop on the Thruway in Amsterdam.

"He was a man of God, a wonderful husband, an attentive and very loving father," friend Andrea Williams said outside the wake at Grace Fellowship Church. "He was a friend to everyone."

Cunniff, a Schenectady native, is survived by his wife of 14 years, Amy, and their two boys: Zachary, 4, and Caleb, 6. Caleb is living with a rare disorder called spinal muscular atrophy.

Family friend Craig Fellows, of Niskayuna, brought a homemade Donald Duck balloon for the boys, remembering how Cunniff used to imitate the famous cartoon character to amuse them.

"He wasn’t afraid to look silly or anything else, to talk to his kids in a Donald Duck voice," Fellows said. "He would do everything for his kids and his family."

His fellow parishioners said Cunniff would also do anything for his church, from playing the electric guitar in the worship band to just lending an ear.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered flags on state government buildings to be flown at half-staff Thursday in honor of Cunniff and his nine years of service to the New York State Police.

The funeral service is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Friday at Grace Fellowship. WNYT.com will provide a link to the church’s live video stream of the service.

Cunniff’s legacy of helping others continues through organ donation and the family’s commitment to finding a cure for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), according to his obituary.

Contributions may be made to:

Families of SMA

925 Busse Rd.

Elk Grove Village, IL 60007