A lot of exciting and challenging things has happened over these last few years. Amongst the most notable events for me is the loss of my grandparents. With that in mind, I want to pause to give tribute to my grandma and reflect on my grandparents. But before I do that, I want to begin with a clear message for all the wonderful grandparents: Thank you!
Thank you grandparents!
Thank you for your stories, love, support, delicious meals, and spoiling us even when our parents say “no,” (😂). We appreciate the laughs, the stern corrections, the sacrifices, and the lessons in perseverance!
Many of our grandparents were born into the Great Depression, fought in wars and conflicts, battled segregation and overt acts of racism, and may not have had the same educational opportunities as we do. Yet, they persevered and worked tirelessly to ensure their families had everything they needed to survive. They taught and teach us the foundational values of hard work, family, and sacrifice.
Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to meet either of my grandfathers; however, I have heard wonderful stories about them! I can see their influence through even their great, great grandchildren! Although I lost my paternal grandmother in 2018, my great uncle who acted as my grandfather last year, and my maternal grandmother last week, I am grateful for them. There are no words to truly describe how much our grandparents have done to create a better society for us. Thus, the only words I can think to say are: Thank you!
Mary E. Burse-Wright
We are celebrating my maternal grandmother’s life today! She is by far one of the strongest and most resilient people I have ever known. Quite honestly, I always felt she was invincible and could live forever. Of course life always has a way of bringing you back to reality. She may have died this past week, but her legacy lives on through the doctors, musicians, singers, professional athletes, writers, entrepreneurs, corporate professionals, veterans, journalists, and more! I am in awe as I visit with my extended family this weekend. I’m proud to say that my grandma has left behind a phenomenal and talented group of people.
Rest in honor Grandma, our matriarch. Thank you and I love you forever!
Mary Ella Burse-Wright was born to the Reverend John Albert Jones, Sr., and Fannie Mae (Mason) Jones on July 18, 1931, in Greenwood, Mississippi. She was the seventh child of nine children. From a family of believers, her foundation was laid in the Church of God in Christ where she accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior at a young age.
On June 13, 1948, Mary was united in holy matrimony to J.D. Burse, Sr. J.D. and Mary lived happily for 37 years until the Lord called him home in 1985. To their union were born eight children, Murion Charles (Jeanette, deceased), J.D., Jr. (Marion), William Errol, Debria Cornelia, Michelle Ynette (Don, deceased), Lawana Lynn, Stephan Curtis, Sr. (Viola), and Arnita Renee (Ronald). Her love of children and heart for service led to her fostering hundreds of children and adding the last three children, Shenerey, Terrance, and Ernest permanently to their family. She also had a beloved goddaughter, Minetta Davison, whom she loved dearly.
Mary was an advocate for education which inspired a legacy of excellence in higher education among her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who have multiple degrees and successful careers. Mary received an Associate in Business and became an Executive Assistant and later a small business owner of several businesses.
In 1991, Mary was remarried to Sidney Wright until the Lord called him home. From their union, she gained a bonus family.
Grandma was dedicated to the church and charity.
Mary served in the Church of God in Christ on the local, district, state, and international levels in “Women’s Work,” as she would say. Being a champion for youth ministries, Mary desired to have children of her own but had some difficulties. She went to God, with faith, and in prayer, asking for children and told him, “If you give me children, I will give them back to you to serve you.” Because she was an avid supporter of the Church and worked diligently and fervently in service, her children, and their offspring faithfully serve in some capacity in their home churches. She also served her local community in aging and disability services, leadership and politics, and youth mentorship. Mary was a talented and gifted woman. She was a charismatic orator and historian, whose chronicles captivated audiences for hours. As a clothes designer and seamstress, she created original wardrobe pieces for dignitaries and families. She was also an excellent caterer. Mary openly shared her gifts, often creating volunteer programs and job opportunities for members of the community.
Grandma’s legacy lives on.
Mary was called home to be with the Lord on October 30, 2022. Grandma transitioned peacefully at age 91.
She was preceded in death by her mother, father, and siblings: Lawrence, Sr. Rosia, Arthur, Nathaniel, Lettie, John, Jr., Hervin, and James Lloyd; and her two beloved children William and Lawana. She leaves to cherish her memories and uphold her legacy, nine children, 39 grandchildren, 59 great-grandchildren, ten great-great-grandchildren, and a host of nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, family, and friends.