Judge Brenda Burnham Unruh, 53, passed away peacefully on March 13, 2011, surrounded by her family.
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Brenda and her husband, Bob had recently celebrated 31 years of marriage having two children, Bradley and Brittany. She is also survived by her parents, David and Sue Burnham; sister, Debbie Green (Matt); brother, Jonathan Burnham (Faith); parents-in-law, Robert and Claudia Unruh; brothers-in-law, Jim Unruh (LeAnn) and Ron Unruh (Heidi); nieces, Katie Green, Jackie Green, Taylor Burnham, Christin Unruh, Karly Unruh, Kalie Unruh; nephews, David Burnham, Drew Green, Tyson Unruh, Jayce Unruh.
Brenda was born and grew up in Akron, Ohio. She graduated from Firestone High School in 1976 (Womanhood Award Winner of 1976). Brenda attended Wheaton College (Illinois) where she graduated Cum Laude in 1980. She graduated from Law School at the University of Akron in 1984.
Licensed to practice law in both Florida and Ohio, she was a self-employed attorney from 1984 to 1991. Her career in Akron began in 1992 where through the Summit County Juvenile Court she Co-Coordinated the Guardian Ad Litem Program. From 1993 to 1994 Brenda was an Assistant Prosecutor serving in the Juvenile Division: from 1994-1997 she was an Assistant Prosecutor in the Criminal Division; from 1997 to 1998 a Magistrate in the Summit County Juvenile Court. She was appointed to a Municipal Court Judgeship (City of Akron) in 1997. In March of 1999 she became a Judge in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, where she presided until recently resigning for health reasons.
Judge Unruh served on numerous Boards including the Knight Foundation, the Akron Bar Association, Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, Family T.I.E.S., Project GRAD, Guardian Ad Litem, Community Based Correctional Facility, Akron Child Guidance Women's Board, Summit County Domestic Violence Task Force, Shelter Care and the Paul Tell Foundation. Brenda was also Past President of the Junior League of Akron.
Brenda was committed to her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and was a member of The Chapel. She led Bible studies for many years in her home as well as with professionals in the business and legal community during lunch hours.
A memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. on WEDNESDAY evening, March 16 in the Main Sanctuary at The Chapel at 135 Fir Hill. There will be a private graveside service conducted later.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the JUDGE BRENDA BURNHAM UNRUH CHARITABLE FUND which has been established to evangelize, protect and care for women and children in distress, c/o Laura DeLuca, ValMark Securities, Inc., 130 Springside Drive, Akron, OH 44333 (330)576-1234 or Laura.DeLuca@valmarksecurities.com
(Billow FAIRLAWN Chapel)
Published in Akron Beacon Journal on March 15, 2011