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Martha Lois Wiley Cunningham

June 12, 1917 August 26, 2018
Martha  Lois Wiley  Cunningham
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Obituary for Martha Lois Wiley Cunningham

Martha Lois Wiley Cunningham
June 12, 1917 - August 26, 2018
Mrs. Lois W. Cunningham, well-known and beloved Valdosta resident for over 61 years passed away quietly at her home Sunday afternoon. Her daughter, Charlotte Ford, her son-in-law, Rev. Dr. Joe Ford, and other family and friends were with her.
Mrs. Cunningham, celebrated for her piano playing became a YouTube celebrity at the age of 98 when she was invited to play at the Grand Ole Opry. She played a stirring rendition of How Great Thou Art. When the crowd responded with a standing ovation, Mrs. Cunningham lifted her hand to heaven in honor of God. At present she has over 11.5 million YouTube viewers of that performance.
On the occasion of her 100th birthday, Mayor John Gayle of the City of Valdosta and the Board of Commissioners for Lowndes County honored her with the proclamation of "Lois Cunningham Day".
She taught music for 30 years in the school system and was well known for her civic and church involvement. She was a faithful member of First Baptist Church of Valdosta for six decades and served as chairperson of the WMA when the Centennial Quilt was created for the church. The quilt now hangs in the church library. She was a member of the Joy/Fidelis Sunday School Class. She was a Red and Black recipient from Valdosta State University; her picture hangs in the Hamilton County Museum along with other centurions. She was a member of the DAR/2017 Woman of the Year, a LifeTime Member of the American Legend Auxiliary, and the Elks Auxilary.
Her husband of 69 years, Earl, and sons Steve and Stan preceded her in death. She is survived by her daughter, Charlotte (Joe Ford), and four grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren: Brandon Ford (Stephanie) and children Eli, Tessa, Georgia Grace, and Amelia of Dallas, GA; Jennifer Ford Turner (Josh) and children Hampton, Colby, Marion, and Hawke of Nashville, TN and descendants of her son, Steve, - Dr. Will Cunningham (Larkin) and children Landin, Hudson and Heath of Warm Springs, GA and Kelly (Shaun) Dillavou and daughter, Raegan, of Simpsonville, SC.
Her twin sister, Louise Thompson, and sisters, Wessie Wiley, Emma Ingram, and brother, Leslie, also preceded her in death. She is survived by cousins, nieces, and nephews from those families and the Earl Cunningham family.
Mrs. Cunningham was born in Damascus, GA to parents, John Wesley and Ollie Lanier Wiley. She graduated from Arlington High School and attended Bessie Tift College, graduating with a Degree from GSWC. She held a Master's Degree and a Six Year Degree from Valdosta State University and completed additional undergraduate and graduate studies from Purdue University, Oglethorpe University, Florida State University, and the University of GA.
In 1947, she met and married her husband while teaching in Jennings, FL. Mr. Cunningham, a returning service man, fought at Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands during WWII. Mrs. Cunningham worked in Oak Ridge, TN during WWII and was presented the Army-Navy "E" Award for excellence in war production.
While Mrs. Cunningham spent most of her life no further than 100 miles from where she was born, she was deeply loved, respected, and honored not only by her family, but the thousands whose lives she touched.
Celebration Services are planned for Wednesday, August 29, 2018, 11:30 a.m. at First Baptist Church Sanctuary. Visitation is at 10:30 a.m. in Sanctuary.
Published on August 27, 2018


Previous Events

Visitation

Wednesday

29

Aug

10:30 AM 8/29/2018 10:30:00 AM - 11:30 AM 8/29/2018 11:30:00 AM
First Baptist Church

200 W. Central Avenue
Valdosta, GA 31602

First Baptist Church
200 W. Central Avenue Valdosta 31602 GA
US

Celebration of Life

Wednesday

29

Aug

11:30 AM 8/29/2018 11:30:00 AM
First Baptist Church

Central Avenue
Valdosta, GA 31601

First Baptist Church
Central Avenue Valdosta 31601 GA
US
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