Heaven’s Gate has opened for Samuel Burris, Jr., God’s Humble Servant. Son. Husband. Father. Grandfather. Great Grandfather. Educator. Friend. An exemplary life of faith, family, fellowship, and friends.
He was affectionately known as “Sam” by his contemporaries. His students and the community at large called him, “Mr. Burris”, as he garnered much love and respect. Born July 14,1936, in Cleveland County, North Carolina, he was the son of the late Samuel, Sr. and Ruth Davis Burris. His formal education was stellar. He graduated from Davidson High School-Class of 1954, Kingsville, North Carolina. He then matriculated to Livingstone College, Salisbury, North Carolina where he received his Bachelors’ Degree. Sam was accomplished and received Masters’ Degrees from North Carolina A & T State University, Greensboro and the University of North Carolina, Charlotte where he received his degree in school administration. He furthered his studies in Staff Development. A consummate educator, Sam was employed as the principal of Highland Middle School, Montgomery County, North Carolina, adult driver’s education teacher at Stanly Community College, Albemarle and volunteer with Albemarle Middle School, Albemarle. After retiring from the school system, he was employed with the Options Program.
Sam was a Believer who enjoyed reading The Bible daily; and was always willing to assist his fellowman. He was a devoted member of Union Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Albemarle for many years. There he served as financial secretary of the Steward’s Board, Sunday School superintendent, member of the Missionary Society and Lay Council, Men’s Day chairman, and member of the Booster Club.
Very civic and community minded he was involved and sought membership in the following organizations: Stanly Lodge #88, PHA, where he served as treasurer for many years, member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated, Ivy Chapter #126 OES, and the North Carolina Retired Personnel, Stanly County Chapter.
Working in his flowers gardens and yard was therapeutic; and he could be seen spending hours making everything beautiful. Other pastimes included: grilling and watching his favorite football teams. He enjoyed the North Carolina State Wolfpack, the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets (where his grandson, Juston, plays in the NFL).
On April 16, 2018, Sam was welcomed to his Eternal home and joined his parents, and his brothers and sister: Robert Burris, L. C. Burris and Thelma Rowe, to a place we are told is perfect in every way.
His life will forever be cherished and remembered by his loving wife, Bertha S. Burris, Albemarle; sons: Samuel Eric (Tiffany) Burris, Charlotte and Timothy ( Alisha) Burris, Durham; grandchildren: Toree Floyd, Juston Burris, Erin Padgett, Alexandria Padgett and Braxton Turner; great grandchildren: Dream Gaines, Jonathan Gaines, Teachus Gaines, Donate’ Gaines, and Skylar Gaines; brother, Frank (Marie) Burris, Kings Mountain; sister, Hazel Abernathy, Kings Mountain; sister-in-law, Ruby Burris, Kings Mountain; brothers-in-law: Tony (Cynthia) Smith and Eddie (Zelma) Davis, both of Albemarle; a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.