Deacon Emeritus Thomasine Mason Lane Burke was a native of Petersburg, Va. Thomasine was the youngest of five children born to the late Deacon Henry C.P. Burke Sr. and Julia E. Brown Burke.
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Thomasine accepted Jesus and was baptized at an early age and became a member of the Gillfield Baptist Church.
Thomasine was educated in the Petersburg Public School System. She received her Bachelor's degree in Education from Elizabeth City University, Elizabeth City, N.C., and her Master's degree in Education from New York University, New York, N.Y.
As an educator, Thomasine taught elementary school in Washington, D.C., and retired after 35 years. While teaching and living in Washington, D.C., she attended the 19th Street Baptist Church and served on the Board of Christian Education. Thomasine had a beautiful soprano voice and not only sang in the sanctuary choir but also served as the choir's president for six years.
After retirement, she returned to her native Petersburg and the Gillfield Baptist Church. In 1992, Thomasine was ordained as a deacon and served faithfully in this position until her health began to fail. In addition to her deacon responsibilities, Thomasine taught the women's Bible class for many years, was a member of the women's fellowship, Gillfield Singles' Club and also served as a member and president of the Missionary Society.
Thomasine was also a member of the Retired Teachers Club and served as president of the Church Women United, Tri-City Unit.
Thomasine's favorite scripture was 103 Psalm: "Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me, Bless His Holy Name." Thomasine was a woman of God who exemplified one who believes in service. She was always ready to give of herself in order to lift up the Kingdom of God. She used her spiritual gifts to encourage, comfort and minister to each and every person who came in contact with her. Thomasine's quiet demeanor and warm and caring spirit earned the respect of all who encountered her.
In addition to her parents, Thomasine was preceded in death by a loving stepmother, Laura Johnson Burke; one sister, Mary E. C. Burke; three brothers, Robert C.S. Burke, Henry C.P. Burke Jr., and James W.B. Burke; and one cousin, Wilbur Bellamy (Shirley).
She leaves to cherish her memory: two nieces, Nancy E. Burke and Charlotte R. Daniels (William); one great-niece, Jessica P. Burke; two great-nephews, W. Norman Daniels and Seneca Daniels. She also leaves several cousins, Sam Bellamy (Hattie), Werton Bellamy (Phyllis) and Charlotte Bellamy Clinkscale. She leaves her lifelong "best" friend, Laura B. Moore; and three very special friends (who tended her especially well during her illness) Joseph A. and Synobia J. Towler, along with their daughter, Teresa Towler. Thomasine will be truly missed by many other relatives and friends.
A funeral services for Deacon Emeritus Thomasine M.L. Burke will be held 12 p.m. Wednesday, July 17, 2013, at the Gillfield Baptist Church, 209 Perry St., Petersburg, Va., the Rev. Dr. George W.C. Lyons Jr., pastor, eulogist. Interment to follow at Wilkerson Memorial Cemetery.
The family will receive friends one hour prior to the services at the church.
Family members and friends are invited to pay final tribute to Deacon Emeritus Burke at www.jmwilkersonsince1874.com.
Funeral arrangements entrusted to the staff of J.M. Wilkerson Funeral Establishment Inc., 102 South Ave., Petersburg, Va., 804-732-8911, www.jmwilkersonsince1874.com.
Published in The Progress-Index from July 10 to July 13, 2013