BY SAMANTHA BRAZEAU-WILSON
Meet the Cunningham Closs family – a creatively gifted bunch who have lived in Onaping Falls just about their entire lives.
The Cunningham Closs family is made up of six: Martha and Kevin, and their four children Linus, Wesley, Eamon, and Niamh. Martha is originally from Onaping and Kevin is from Manitoulin Island. When they first got married, they lived in Toronto and decided to move back to Onaping Falls where they raised their four children.
“Growing up, we had so many wonderful leaders who created a town you wanted to raise your kids in,” said Martha. “That is a big reason why Kevin and I moved back.”
An active member of our community, Martha dedicates her time volunteering at St. John’s United Church, Falls Food, and the Onaping Legion. She has also helped out at YES Theatre and Theatre Cambrian in Sudbury where her kids regularly perform. Martha is currently in search of a job that fits her public relations skills and is contemplating going back to school.
Her husband, Kevin Closs, is a well-known northern Ontario folk musician who has released eleven studio albums in his career and is currently working on his twelfth. He spends twelve weeks a year either in the Arctic or Antarctic entertaining on Adventure Cruise ships, driving zodiacs and sometimes carrying a .30-6 rifle in the Arctic spotting Polar Bears – quite the adventure seeker!
Martha and Kevin’s work ethics and creativity were certainly passed down to their children. Linus is finishing his Fine Arts degree in Theatre at Laurentian University in Sudbury and was recently awarded the Thorneloe Scholarship for the highest ranking in his class. Wesley lives in Toronto where he is currently working and doing art on commision and will soon begin studying to become a teacher of English as a second language. Eamon is also working right now and will continue his schooling in Ancient Studies in September. And Niamh is doing a lot of acting at Theatre Cambrian productions and is continuing her education in Theatre at Laurentian University.
Martha describes her childhood in Onaping Falls as idyllic. “Hardy Public School had the best playhouse in the district and a schoolyard with woods that were magical to play in. In high school we had dances, and our teachers were our neighbours and then later in life, became our friends.”
Some of her favourite memories are Carolfest and Christmas on Valley Road. Although she did not experience these events as a child, she says she feels blessed that her children were fortunate enough to have them as part of their childhood.
“If someone asks me where I’m from, I tell them, Onaping Falls,” says Martha. “Being part of the Greater City of Sudbury has never sounded right to me, although I try to keep a positive outlook. Thank you to the generation that came before me. They made this a wonderful town to grow up in.”