Dona Blanche Burgess
This tribute recognizes a quiet hero, our precious mamaand nanny, Dona Blanche Burgess, who passed on to gloryto be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, January 2,2014, in Wichita Falls, Texas.Blanche and her husband Leonard, who preceded herin death on January 14, 1984, were long-time residents ofHutchinson County. They were married July 28, 1941.Leonard served under Patton in World War II. Whenthe war finally ended, Blanche and Leonard rode a 1936Harley from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to Dumas, Texas.Because it was December, Leonard tried to get his wifeto take the bus, but she would have nothing to do withhis chivalry. She climbed on the back of the Harley, eventhough it had no true seat for her. She rode behind her manin freezing temperatures. At every stop, Dona Blanche puton more layers of his army fatigues. When they arrived inDumas, their shoelaces were frozen. She continued ridingwith her husband on that Harley for better or worse, richeror poorer, in sickness and in healthy for forty-two years.Leonard went to work for Stekoll Petroleum Company. The couple set up housekeeping ina small camp house on the Dial Lease, later moving to the Stekoll camp where they lived fortwenty-eight years.Church and family became Leonard and Blanche’s top priorities. They became activemembers of the First Baptist Church of Borger, August 25, 1946. They and their daughtersSuzanne and Mahana served in multiple ministries. Their lives reflected Joshua 24:15: “As forme and my house, we will serve the Lord.”When Mahana started the first grade, Blanche went back to school receiving her Bachelorof Science in Education from West Texas State University in 1964 and began her twenty-sixyearteaching career. She taught third and fourth graders at Pringle, Plemons, and Stinnett,touching many young lives with her kindness, love, and generosity.After retiring, Blanche moved back to her roots in McAlester, Oklahoma, where she participatedin many of the tribal Choctaw activities. She tutored in reading at the library andbecame active in her church.As the years passed by, Blanche came to live with her daughters Suzanne Baker and husbandBud of Borger and Mahana Andrew and husband Robert of Olney, Texas.She so enjoyed her grandchildren: Misty Wilson and husband Kelly of Mineral Wells,Randy Green and wife Christina of Borger, Craig Andrew and wife Jaclyn of Wichita Falls,Kelli Mikkelson and husband Robert of Lewisville, and Kyle Andrew of Lewisville; ninegreat-grandchildren: Mackenzie, Mollie, and Emily Wilson, Hannah, Lydia, Josiah, and RachelGreen, Jacey and Lane Andrew, and Finley Mikkelson arriving in May.Moma was born November 24, 1922. How do we, her family, sum up 91 years of life? Ourmama and nanny was blessed with the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22): love, joy, peace, longsuffering,gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. She was a powerful prayerwarrior. When Blanche walked “pain free” through the pearly gates, her celebration beganwith her Lord saying to her, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”We know that she glorified God with her giving heart. She made bail for several youngmen, bought clothes for her needy students, and took one young student to the beauty shop.She paid multiple young people’s way to church camp, made sure that different families hadChristmas, gave to many Christian organizations, and gave groceries to a stranger. With herfamily, she shared her wisdom and wit. She showed them the pettiness of fussing over thesmall stuff. She sent money to her college-aged grandchildren who had been surviving on RamanNoodles. She sent a note saying, “Hang in there, baby! It won’t always be like this.” Shetruly stored her treasures in heaven and became a beautiful vessel, who was always obedientto the will of God. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren think she is a hoot! In truth,human words are inadequate to describe our mama and nanny.A private family committal service was held on Monday, January 6, 2014, at the StiglerCity Cemetery in Stigler, Oklahoma. Memorials may be made to Rathgeber HospitalityHouse, 1615 12th Street, Wichita Falls, Texas 76301. This “house” serves patient families atthe United Regional Hospital in Wichita Falls.