Mildred T. Keene, M.D., 82, of Skyland Drive, Morganton, NC died Tuesday, June 30, 2009 at Grace Hospital. Born in Lake Butler, FL on January 28, 1927, she was the daughter of the late Vernon Keene and Eva Mary Edenfield Keene Pearce. She was of the Methodist Faith.Following her graduation from the University of Tennessee, she joined the U.S. Air Force from which she retired as a Lt. Colonel. She was active in politics, prompting her to be one of the first women to run for Congress and the U.S. Senate.Dr. Keene received numerous prestigious awards, including the Long Leaf Pine and the Korean National Defense Medal, presented by the United Daughters of American Confederates.

She held medical licenses in psychiatry, dentistry, and emergency medicine. She was the director of Mental Health in Fulton County, Atlanta, GA and later joined the Charlotte Psychiatric Associates. She relocated to Morganton where she practiced psychiatry until her retirement. She continued to work locum tenems until her death.In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a brother, John Richard Keene, and sisters, Mary Lee Keene Johnson, Evelyn Strickland, and Eleanor Kieloboski.Dr. Keene is survived by a brother, Wayne Pearce and wife, Hazel, of Gainesville, FL; a sister, Bonnie Parker and husband, Glen, of Gainesville; a special cousin, Gerry Vaughn of Bunnell, FL; a special niece, Mary K. Sumner of Jacksonville, FL; a special nephew, Joshua C. Shelton; and other nieces and nephews.The family will receive friends on Saturday, July 4, 2009 from 9:00 until 9:30 a.m. at Sossoman Funeral Home. A graveside service will be held at 10:00 a.m., Saturday at Burke Memorial Park with Gerry Vaughn officiating. Valdese American Legion Post #234 will provide military honors. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to Mt. Moriah United Methodist Church, Mt. Moriah Church Road, Casar, NC 28020.

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