FVSU Mourns Passing of Former First Lady Mamie Burse



Left photo- Mamie Burse. Right photo- (l to r) Mamie Burse, Dr. Luther Burse, and daughter Elizabeth.

Wildcat Nation today mourns the passage of former first lady Mamie Balbon Burse, who served with former president Dr. Luther Burse from 1983-1988. The university and FVSU family send our love, condolences, and most profound expressions of sympathy and adoration to Dr. Burse and the family. Mrs. Burse passed away on July 3, 2017.

Mamie Balbon grew up in Virginia Beach, VA, one of six children. She earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Elizabeth City State University and a master’s degree in supervision and administration from Cheyney State University. While in Fort Valley, she served as assistant principal at Crawford County Middle School in Roberta, GA and worked at the Peach County Senior Citizens Center. Their daughter Elizabeth was a student in the Peach County Public School System during Dr. Burse’s tenure, where Mrs. Burse was an active volunteer. Their son, Luther, Jr. was a Morehouse College student.

Professor emeritus Dr. Donnie Bellamy observed that when Mrs. Burse arrived at Fort Valley State College, she “boosted students’ enthusiasm and promoted school spirit.” To that end, she became a member of the End Zoners Club, which supported athletics through fundraising. Mrs. Burse often served as the chairperson for the organization’s annual recognition banquet. The End Zoners purchased championship rings for the football team, renovated parts of the stadium, purchased uniforms, installed a new football goal post, and bought a 15-passenger van for the Athletic Department.

As first lady, Mrs. Burse was a top ambassador for the school, hosting countless receptions for new students and visitors and attending number annual events, balls, convocations, coronations, and observances. She hosted annual blood drives, resulting in recognition from the American Red Cross. 

President Paul Jones has ordered the FVSU flag lowered to half-mast in honor of Mrs. Burse from tomorrow through Saturday.

Biographical information taken from Ladies First, Please! by Betty H. Rivers.

Funeral arrangements follow:

Viewing and Funeral Service
Saturday, July 8, 2017
Village Church
4013 Indian River Road
Virginia Beach, VA  23456
Viewing: 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
Funeral Services: 11:00 a.m.

For more information and an obituary when it becomes available, visit http://www.keithmatthewsfuneralhome.com/notices/Mamie-Burse.

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