Milford Deal "Mickey" Burriss

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Mickey Burriss EASTOVER - Milford Deal "Mickey" Burriss passed away peacefully in his sleep on July 21, 2016, after a lengthy and courageous battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. He was 79 years old. His immediate family was blessed to be able to spend the past 9 1/2 months by his side listening to his stories about growing up on the "Mill Hill" in Anderson, SC. He would tear up when he described being a young boy watching mill workers passing through the gate of the mill early each morning in fresh dungarees, while the powerful looms inside filled the air with a masculine hum and shook the ground beneath his feet. He never was at a loss for words. In fact, Mickey took to writing those words in his later years and has written several books about his experiences. He was fortunate enough to be able to sit down with his two sons and write his own obituary. Most of what you see here was from his own hand scratched out on a yellow legal pad. Mickey had a lot to say. On the frosty morning of February 25, 1937, in Anderson, South Carolina, Sybil Lyles Burriss and William Thomas Burriss gave birth to Milford Deal "Mickey" Burriss. Sybil and William would go on to have two more sons in Dr. Donald Thomas Burriss and William Mack Burriss As a result of WWII, Mickey would experience moving with his family to various places so his father could contribute to the war effort as an electrician. In addition to Anderson, SC, Mickey had the pleasure to live in Norfolk, Virginia, Allendale, Anderson, Barnwell, Spartanburg. Mickey had great stories from all of these places. He talked often of the fears of a young first grader in Norfolk, Virginia, who walked himself to school on the first day only to get lost coming home in the afternoon because he could not remember the way home. He remembers a class project in Allendale where he learned to plant centipede grass for the first time. The field he sprigged in Allendale is still covered in centipede. Eventually, Sybil and William put down roots in the Cayce/West Columbia area. Mickey would graduate from Brookland Cayce High School in 1955. After completing high school, He joined the Navy and traveled to many foreign lands on the USS Forrestal. Before he took ill, he was fortunate enough to reconnect with several men who became his close friends on the Forrestal. He was able to travel to Florida and spend a weekend with these men, most of whom he had not seen in more than 50 years. Upon completing his naval duties in 1957, Mickey returned to Columbia, South Carolina where he enrolled in and graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1961. He obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He often talked about how he would attend school while working 50 plus hours a week as a bellhop at the Wade Hampton Hotel on Main Street in Columbia. Mickey was fortunate enough to meet the love of his life, Joyce Crosby Burriss, at Doug Broom's Drive-In on North Main Street in Columbia, South Carolina. They married on October 2, 1965. Mickey was told he had a terminal illness on October 1, 2015, the day before his 50th wedding anniversary. He joked about how he had a unique 50th wedding celebration. He and Joyce celebrated together in room 815 at Lexington Medical Center. The both got cold during the night and Joyce climbed into his hospital bed with him for warmth. They were discovered laying their together by their family the next morning. Mickey often spoke about how good he slept that night with Joyce lying next to him. Mickey and Joyce were blessed with two sons and two wonderful daughters-in-law. His oldest son, Thomas Leon Burriss, married Christi Griffin Burriss and they gave Mickey and Joyce their first grandchild, Taylor Ray Burriss. Mickey's youngest son, William Henry Burriss, would marry Sherri Craft Burriss. They gave Mickey and Joyce three more grandchildren in Joshua Craft Burriss, Jonah Stephan Burriss and Alina Maria Burriss. He was also blessed with a wonderful step-son and step daughter-in-law, Terry Michael Wessinger and Barbara Munig Wessinger, and their children, Myles Austin Wessinger, Trenton Gregory Wessinger and Sterlyn Michael Wessinger. Mickey, along with his brother, William Mack Burriss, took over the family business, Carolina Electrical Company, where they worked for almost 40 years. During that time, he had the great fortune to serve the Eastover and Lower Richland Community (District 80) in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1983 to 1990. He loved the Eastover and Lower Richland community and had many friends he loved spending time with. Even when he no longer felt like eating, he would often smile when talking about Jimmy Young's fish fries. He loved Jimmy's fried fish. He enjoyed many hobbies like cat fishing on the Wateree River, planting bonsai trees, grafting pecan trees, clearing land at Lake Dogwood, shooting his guns, riding his Harleys, writing about his childhood and teaching his grandchildren about life and how to see the beauty in nature and everything around them. But most of all, while sitting in the hospital, he longed to be back in Eastover with Joyce at his "heaven on earth." He would talk about how much fun they had just being together at home. He truly missed that. Mickey also had the pleasure of serving on the Board of Visitors at The Citadel from 1988 to 1990. This was extra special to him as both his sons were attending and graduating from The Citadel during his tenure. He also had the honor to be appointed as a Magistrate for Richland County in 1992 and serving for approximately 8 years. Despite all his success and accomplishments, Mickey would tell you his greatest accomplishment was accepting Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior five years ago. He was led to Christ by his brother, Donald Thomas Burriss, who he often fished and hung out with. In classic Mickey style, he was baptized five years ago in a creek at Pawley's Island with his brother, wife and good friends standing by his side. Mickey is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren. He is also survived by his stepson and stepdaughter-in-law, Terry Michael Wessinger and Barbara Munig Wessinger, and their children, Myles Austin Wessinger, Trenton Gregory Wessinger and Sterlyn Michael Wessinger. He is also survived by his brother William M. Burriss and his wife Randy. His brother Donald Thomas Burriss passed last September, but Mickey is survived by Donnie's wife, Irene, and her children. He never knew a stranger and made many lifelong friends at the different stages of his life. He is thankful to all these friends, who are too numerous to mention by name. His family thanks you for being a part of his life and for the numerous visits you made to see Mickey over the past few months. We are honored and grateful to know all of you. Mickey wanted to thank Dr. Asheesh Lal and his staff at Lexington Oncology. Dr. Lal was compassionate and never gave up on Mickey during his illness. He went above and beyond the call of duty. He was also grateful to the Lexington Medical Center cancer floor for their kind and compassionate care. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Lebanon United Methodist Church, 10220 Garners Ferry Road, Eastover, South Carolina 29044. Funeral service will be held 11:00 a.m. Monday, July 25, 2016, at Asbury Memorial United Methodist Church. The family will receive friends at the church from 10 until 11:00 a.m. prior to the service. It was Mickey's request that everyone dress "casual." Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, is assisting the family. Please sign the online guest book at
Published in The State on July 24, 2016
Arrangements under the direction of:
Dunbar Funeral Home - Devine
3926 DEVINE ST | Columbia, SC 29205 | (803) 771-7990
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