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'A music icon': Founder of The Wulfe Bros., Paul Cunningham dies at 72

Band member and long-time friend Jeffrey Jarboe says he died after two years of battling a number of serious health issues.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The founding member of the Louisville band, The Wulfe Bros., passed away Tuesday afternoon. Paul Cunningham was 72.

Band member and long-time friend Jeffrey Jarboe says he died after two years of battling a number of serious health issues.

"He took his last breaths with his family by his side," Jarboe said.

Cunningham leaves behind a wife, Maryann "Canary" Cunningham, and two sons, Dustin and Sean, both of whom took after their father with careers in music.

Music was all Cunningham ever did. He was first a member of the original Rugbys, The Company Front and then founded The Wulfe Bros. in 1969, as the bassist, lead vocalist and leader of the band. To this day it is the longest running full-time band in the state.

"He was a consummate professional," Jarboe said. "The way he played, the way he sang, the way he ran the band. He was fair, honest and was about doing things the right way."

The band played at the Kentucky State Fair for 30 years, and made hundreds of appearances at bars, night clubs and special events. But Jarboe says their pride and joy was the educational shows the band took on the road across Kentuckiana, from elementary schools to high schools.

"Principals would come up to us and tell us how they were kids when they saw us first play," Jarboe said. "We were most proud of that."

The idea behind it all was once again, Cunningham's.

"He will surely be missed but leaves a legacy of love for his family, Louisville, and the Louisville music community," Jarboe said. "The Godfather of Louisville music."

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