Mary Fannie Burgess, named Fannie Lucy Mary Eliza at birth, was born to the late Robert Burgess and Louisa Cheek Burgess on February 11, 1925, in Halifax County, North Carolina. She entered into eternal rest and peace on Monday, June 29, 2020, at her home in Littleton, North Carolina, surrounded by her loving and devoted family.
Mary received her formal education in the Halifax County Public School System. She attended the former Springfield Elementary School, Edgewood Elementary School, John Armstrong Chaloner High School, and McIver High School.
During her early life, Mary accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Savior, was baptized, and joined the Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Littleton, North Carolina. She sang in the Senior Choir, served as a Senior Usher, was Co-Advisor for the Junior Choir, and remained faithful and dedicated to her church until ill health prevailed.
Mary was not afraid of hard work and during her early years, she worked on various farms in Halifax County. She later relocated to Baltimore, Maryland, and became employed at Johns Hopkins Hospital for several years. After returning to North Carolina, Mary worked at Howard Johnson’s Restaurant in Roanoke Rapids, North, Carolina, and later became employed
with the Halifax County School System as a Child Nutritionist, Bus Driver, and Custodian. While serving in these many capacities, she exuded so much love and care that she adopted numerous children and grandchildren who still honor her memory to this day.
Mary was a strong disciplinarian in her home and would often remind her children saying, “I’m the law around here!” At the same time, she was the resident comedian with so many rhymes and sayings from her arsenal, and had a personality that was fun-loving, yet, full of wisdom. Mary was quick witted, feisty, and had the memory of an elephant. She was the law, the judge, and the jury, and you would never win an argument with her.
In addition to her parents, Mary was preceded in death by two sons, Frederick Alston and George Alston; one grandson, Carlandos Brown; three sisters, Ethel Mae Alston, Rachel Harville, and Emilie Lynch; and four brothers, Richmond Burgess, John Louis Burgess, William Alfred Burgess, and Robert Burgess.
Those remaining to forever reflect upon the treasured memories of her life and to share the legacy of her love are her sons, Lockett Alston of Greensboro, NC, Dwight Royster of Baltimore, MD, and Nathan Royster of Fuquay Varina, NC; her daughters, Josephine Brown (Eddie) of Littleton, NC, Blanche Alston and Pamela Richardson of the home, and Jeannie Alston of Raleigh, NC; eighteen grandchildren; twenty-four great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren; one daughter-in-law, Willie Mae Alston of Roanoke Rapids, NC; one brother, Moses Burgess (Norma) of Littleton, NC; and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 A.M on Sunday, July 5, 2020, in the chapel of the funeral home. Rev. Richard L. Battle will deliver the eulogy, and burial will follow in the Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery, 127 Rock House Road, Littleton, NC. Because of Covid-19, the CDC guidelines will be followed for all services by limiting the number of persons in attendance. A viewing will be held for one hour prior to the funeral time and on Saturday, July 4, 2020, from 5:00-7:00 P.M. Only five persons will be allowed to enter at any one time.
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