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MILDRED ANDREWS CUNNINGHAM

CUNNINGHAM, MILDRED ANDREWS - of Knoxville, passed away peacefully on April 12, 2014. Born in Bath County, Virginia, to the late Ann Crawford Andrews and Gordon Eugene Andrews, Milli graduated as the Valedictorian of Covington High School, Covington, VA. She attended Erskine College in Due West, SC, earning her Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. She then taught sixth grade in Occoquan, VA, for a year before going to Aleppo, Syria, to marry Bob Cunningham and teach in the Presbyterian Girls High school there. While accompanying Bob through graduate school in Washington, DC, and Bloomington, Indiana, she gave birth to daughters, Nina and Ann. The family spent a year in Jordan and five years in Canada before settling in Knoxville in 1972. In 1973 Milli entered UT Law School during a time when becoming an attorney was an emergent career choice for women. After graduating in 1976, she joined the UT Legal Clinic and helped establish its Family Law Unit; a milestone in providing legal representation for the indigent in need of legal assistance with divorce and child custody cases. She was the first director of the pro bono component of what was then the Knoxville Legal Aid Society, and Milli was influential in encouraging and recruiting private practice attorneys' to provide pro bono services to people who would otherwise not have professional representation in civil law cases. This was the first such legal organization in the state of Tennessee and it still thrives today. While fostering the development of this service to citizens in East Tennessee, Milli also used her time and expertise to mentor young lawyers and paralegals interested in providing legal assistance to under-served populations in need. Milli also fought to increase legal protection for women involved in domestic violence and vigilantly lobbied state legislators to pass a domestic violence law that would protect those caught in untenable situations. After five years with Legal Aid, Milli chose to enter private practice to focus on a less combative approach to resolving difficult family law cases. She developed a reputation as a compassionate attorney who worked hard to resolve difficult cases by collaborating with opposing attorneys to develop reasonable solutions that addressed the needs of their clients and their children. Milli's commitment to the practice of mediation before litigation was a hallmark of her work until her retirement. She was a member of the Knoxville Bar Association Committee on Mediation that set up the framework for training mediators and led the training of the first two classes of mediators. This initiative became the model for the current Community Mediation Center. Milli departs this life leaving many loving family members, colleagues, and friends who have benefited from her wisdom, caring, and joie de vivre. Her husband, Robert Bailey Cunningham, her daughters Nina Cunningham Keck and Ann Crawford Cunningham, her wonderful son-in-law David Keck, Jr. her grandchildren Bailey Mestayer Pittenger, Rachel Elizabeth Keck, and Robert Andrews Keck, her sisters Gil Bland and Betty Sue Aude, her dearest cousin, Rufus Bradley and his wife, Linda, and her very special nieces and nephews, Susan Aude and her daughter Blythe Fisher, Steve Aude and wife Patsy, Greg Aude, Mark Bland and fiancée Karen Blizzard, Ashley Bland and daughter Berkeley Delp. Family was a very important part of Milli's life, and we all mourn the loss of such an influential and special person. Milli was inspirational, caring, and giving. We have all been enriched by her presence in our lives. A memorial service for Milli will take place in Knoxville at Sequoyah Hills Presbyterian Church, 3700 Keowee Avenue, at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 17, 2014. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Sequoyah Hills Presbyterian Church, Erskine College, CONTACT Care Line, or Jewish Voice for Peace. Online condolences may be extended at www.rosemortuary.com. Arrangements by Rose Mortuary Mann Heritage Chapel.

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Funeral Home

Rose Mortuary Mann Heritage Chapel
6200 Kingston Pike Knoxville, TN 37919
(865) 588-8578

Published in Knoxville News Sentinel from Apr. 15 to Apr. 17, 2014
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