For Mother Burns, being a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, homemaker, friend, aunt, matriarch, mentor, neighbor, counselor, confidante, and servant were all honorable callings. Moreover, she was a part of the generation that counted motherhood as a virtue because mothers knew the difference between a house and a home. So her golden accomplishment in life was to make a loving home that would produce a tapestry of memories for which her family would forever cherish and relish.
When Lenora Utsey Lewis Burns was born on September 19, 1919, she was blessed with God fearing parents; Lewis and Lenora Utsey who, by example, taught Christian values, integrity and ingenuity that resulted in a solid and caring family environment. Her parents were highly respected among friends and neighbors in Camden, Arkansas.
Lenora loved learning and even though she had to miss many days of school to “chop” and “pick” cotton, she was determined to obtain her education. She later moved to Los Angeles where she studied and received a certificate of proficiency in dressmaking in 1966. Lenora grew up to be a beautiful and intelligent young woman.
She confessed her faith in Christ at a tender age. She first united with East Camden Church of God In Christ under the leadership of Superintendent Harry Brown. When East Camden was torn down Superintendent Brown built Brown's Temple C.O.G.I.C. After the death of Superintendent Brown she united with Taylor Church of God In Christ under the leadership of her son Superintendent Charles E. Lewis. After her son’s health began to decline she united with Unity C.OG.I.C under the leadership of Elder Jessie Jones and lastly Fairview C.O.G.I.C in El Dorado under the leadership of Apostle Terry Johnson.
Mother Burns served as the State Sunshine Band President II Jurisdiction of Arkansas under the leadership of Bishop Donne L. Lindsey. In 1988, she was awarded from the National Church the Silver Service Award in Recognition of her 25 years of dedicated service to the Sunshine Band Department. She served 8 years with the State Sunday School Department of the II Jurisdiction of Arkansas South West.
She served for 27 years as the Sunshine Band President with the Freedom Temple Sunshine Band. Mother Burns served in the III Jurisdiction of Arkansas as the District Superintendent of the Sunday School Department of the Magnolia Central District. In 1997, she was recognized again by the National Church for 40 years of Dedicated and Consecrated Service and Leadership to The Sunshine Band.
She preached kindness, respect of self and others. She possessed a strong work ethic, gentle demeanor and subtle degree of sophistication. Mother Burns home was a place widely known for abundant portions of love, good maternal advice and wonderful home-cooked meals.
One of her greatest joys was spending memorable moments with relatives both young and old. Her legacy of family togetherness, hospitality and community will live on in the hearts of her loved ones and friends.
Her angelic face was always a portrait of serenity and composure. Her natural wit and humor could chase the chill from any room.
She was preceded in transition by her husband Claude Burns, her doting parents, her son Superintendent Charles E. Lewis who was called to glory to be with the Lord on December 24, 2007; a granddaughter, Pamela Stevens-Scott (2009); her siblings, Pearl McGraw, Mary Davis, Raydell Simpson, Carlee Flowers, Robert Utsey, Willie Utsey and Charlie Utsey.
Our Heavenly Father saw fit to call Mother Lenora Burns from labor to reward on Wednesday, May 15, 2013, in her 93rd of life. Her passing reminds us that life is uncertain, but death is sure.
Her passing shall be filled with rejoicing for a life well lived. It is a given that she lived a long life filled with love, joy and happiness. She gave her all to the Lord, and now is added to His great and blessed family in the world beyond our vision, a place not made by human hands, a place we call Heaven. Her life was the epitome of courage, love, and a deep abiding faith expressed by the many lives she touched.
Her love and devotion was shared by: fourteen grandchildren, Patricia Lewis, Cynthia Lewis Tatum, Rithea Davidson, Paul Givens, Anthony Givens, Tony Givens, Gregg Givens (Tammi), Ronnie Stevens, Tarrion Thompson (Jennifer), Charles Michael Lewis (Angela), Charles Anthony Lewis (Yolanda), Britt Lewis (Carissa), Zac Lewis; thirty-nine great-grandchildren; sixty-nine great-great grandchildren; twelve great-great-great grandchildren; her daughter-in-law, Shirley Morgan of Camden, AR; a caravan of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives, numerous friends as well as the Fairview C.O.G.I.C family.
The final celebration and tribute to her life & legacy will be shared at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 24, 2013, at Community C.O.G.I.C 1217 Ross Street, El Dorado, Arkansas where Pastor Rick Matheney will officiate. Apostle Terry Johnson the overseer of Fairview C.O.G.I.C will deliver the eulogy. The committal service and final resting place will be at Smead Cemetery in Mt. Holly, Arkansas.
Public visitation will be held on Friday, May 23, 2013 from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at Fairview C.O.G.I.C. The family will greet friends from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Click the TributeLink to watch the video tribute.