Mary Louise Cunningham

Affectionately known as “The Walking Lady” for making her rounds to take care of business all over Winchester and Decherd, Mary Louise Cunningham transitioned home eternally on September 5, 2018 while in home hospice care at her daughter’s home in McDonough, GA. The youngest of nine children, born to Maggie and Jacob Wiseman, Mary Louise was born on March 11, 1921 at home on Post Oak Road in Belvidere, TN. While she had humble beginnings; she was inspired by her oldest sister, Alice, to become a teacher. Her family could not help her financially attending college; but, when she graduated from Townsend High School, she set her sight on A & I State College (now Tennessee State University). Mary Louise graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1948. She always had a determined spirit.

Leaving school briefly to support the war effort, Mary moved to Seattle, Washington to build the wings of planes for the Boeing Corporation. She returned to Tennessee to complete her education and married her high school sweetheart, Noble Bolden Cunningham, Jr, a barber and entrepreneur. From this union two children were born, Noble Bolden Cunningham, III and Marilyn Marei Cunningham.

While living in Nashville, Mary became a Home Economics teacher, She was passionate about cooking and sewing. She was known for her macaroni and cheese, fried apples, and a chocolate cake the neighborhood loved. She sewed for the family as well as corporate and even professional dancers! Her sister Marie, affectionately called Aunt Peep, moved to Boston, MA and influenced Mary and Noble to come soon after. Mary did follow. She then found herself living her Scientist dreams working for the Polaroid Corporation as a research and development scientist. She worked on the project that resulted in the SX-70 camera known for the pictures developing before your very eyes.

After retiring from Polaroid she pursued a real estate career. Then, after her son and husband transitioned she moved back to Tennessee and continued her real estate career in Nashville while living in Winchester. Her daughter Marilyn and Son-In-Law Joshua Kenoly continued to ask her to move with them and she finally decided to do it at the age of 95. Mary was in good health and often traveled by Greyhound where most of the drivers had come to know her as “Miss Mary” and would wait with her until Marilyn picked her up. She was 97 years old when she transitioned peacefully and painlessly of natural causes.

She leaves to mourn her memory her daughter, Marilyn Cunningham-Kenoly (Joshua-deceased), 5 Grandchildren, Lance Adamson, LaMonte Toombs, Nicole Andrews, Shawn Adamson and Socorro Kenoly; 10 great-grandchildren, 8 great-great grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews and adopted family. Her favorite motto was “NEVER SAY CAN’T!” And her final words if you would ask her were in the tune of James Brown, “I feel good, like I know I should.”

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