We remember those special individuals who were our mentors, but unfortunately we
don't always take enough time to demonstrate our appreciation for their
commitment. Ultimately, perhaps the greatest tribute we can demonstrate is to
emulate their way of life and tell others about the inspiration they bestowed.
Dedicated, unwavering, thoughtful and patient describe an unforgettable
character that was undoubtedly the personification of the Pastor's Wife.
Although she achieved esteem of her own, she embraced that persona her entire
When Reverend and Mrs. Burrell, and their three adolescent sons moved to rural
Webster County, Marcia, Melba and I were in elementary school in neighboring
Richland. Within a few years we knew them well, and as a teenager, Melba began
dating their youngest son Charles. By the time they announced their plans to
marry, we recognized them as part of our extended family.
Mrs. Burrell became a mainstay in the town of Preston, she rejoiced about
achievements, and was a source of unwavering strength during times of sorrow.
Reverend T.C. was the pastor of the church, but his wife was the comforter; a
role she embodied with absolute pride. Although she was a gifted musician, she
preferred to engage in supporting roles, but remained available to substitute
for the accompanist whenever necessary.
After suffering the unexpected death of her mate in 1978, in due course, she
settled into a life of service and mentorship to family members, friends and
comrades. She was ordained as a deacon at the First Baptist Church of
Milledgeville, and served in countless other capacities, but caring for her
family was a chosen responsibility. She most enjoyed the role of mother,
grandmother and great-grandmother, and during peaceful conversations she
encouraged them to attend worship, study the Bible, and talk to the Lord.
Merle Cook "Grandma" Burrell will continue to occupy an exclusive place in the
hearts of countless individuals who were blessed by her character, warmed by her
charisma, and touched by her unending love. Although the Pastor's wife is
physically gone from this place, her steadfast spirit will forever remain.
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