Deacon William Ralph Burgess, Sr. passed away at his home in Richmond, Virginia, on Tuesday, January 28, 2020, surrounded by his loving family. He was born to the late Sidney T. Burgess and Susie Faulcon Burgess on March 31, 1922, in Halifax County, North Carolina.
William accepted Jesus Christ early in life at the Mount Olive Baptist Church in Littleton, North Carolina. He and his father helped to build the first Mount Olive Church. His formal education was received in the Halifax County Public School System where he also became a bus driver.
William enlisted in the United States Army and traveled by ship twenty-eight days through the Suez Canal to Cairo, Egypt and the Asiatic Sea to Burma, India. As a World War II Veteran, he exhibited the highest degree of pride for the service he gave to his country.
During his life, William farmed and built seven houses from the ground up. He relocated to New Jersey twice, worked as a mechanic and factory worker, and retired as a custodian from the Richmond, Virginia, Public School System. After retirement, William operated a landscaping business, planted gardens for his neighbors, and repaired small engines for himself and his friends.
In addition to his parents, William was preceded in death by his wife of sixty years, Lugenia Solomon Burgess; two sons, Ralph W. Burgess, Jr. and Dennis M. Burgess; three sons-in-law, John H. Kearney, Conney W. Berger, Sr., and Evela L. Akins; his sisters and brothers-in-law, Mary Burgess Anderson (George), Pearline Burgess Powell (Jenne), and Ruth Burgess Brown (Prince); his brother and sister-in-law, Frank Burgess (Lucy); five nephews, Benjamin Powell, Frank, Larry, and Melvin Burgess, and Darryl Solomon; his niece, Beverly Anderson; his mother and father-in-law, Elliott and Amilee Hardy Solomon; his brothers and sisters-in-law, Bertie and Floyd Moore, James Edwards, Olivia and Emmitt Alston, Martha and Lawrence Cooper, Mary and Conrad Wilson, Elliot and Bertha Solomon, and Lola and James Whitaker.
Those loved ones remaining to treasure the precious memories of his life and to share his lasting legacy are his three daughters, Yvonne Kearney, Melba Berger, and Brenda Burgess-Akins; his grandchildren, Renata, Evon, Kelly, and Nicole Burgess, Amiee, Crystal, and Rodney Berger, Sr., Jovan Kearney, and Eddie Akins; his great-grandchildren, Jeanaah Berger Jones, Conney W. Berger, III (Trey), Sebastian, Rodney, Jr., Emma, and Evanny Berger; one great-great-grandson, Nicholas; his brother-in-law, William Weldon Solomon (Avon); his sister-in-law, Addie Edwards; two devoted neighbors, Aubrey “Butch” Allen, and Earl “Soul Brother” Randolph; one adopted nephew, Thomas Burgess; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, his Church of Nazarene family, other neighbors, and many friends who will all greatly miss his earthly presence.
Funeral services will be held at 1:00 P.M. on Monday, February 3, 2020, at the Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church, 127 Rock House Road, Littleton, NC. The Pastor, Rev. Harry R. Carter, Jr., will deliver the eulogy, and burial will follow in the church cemetery. The body will repose at the funeral home on Sunday, February 2, 2020, from 1:00 -8:30 P.M. and at the church for one hour prior to the funeral time.