BY JAMES HARPER
Bobby Lee Burch, who was well known in Daytona Beach as “Mr. Fix It,” died April 19 surrounded by family at the home of his daughter, Murtice Beaman. Burch was 94.
Burch, who was married to the late Murtice Williams for 73 years, was also known in the community for the 12 children they had together.
“My dad raised us knowing one day we were going to leave this place,” said Janice Medlock, adding that she and all of her siblings had to go to church.
Burch was a member of Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church for more than 50 years, where he served as a deacon and an usher.
“We were prepared. He and my mom raised us to believe in God and heaven. I know that is where he is today. We are celebrating his life,” Medlock added.
Medlock said her parents were good providers. “We were never on food stamps. There was always room at the table for others,” Medlock concluded.
Service on Saturday at Greater Friendship
Burch’s homegoing service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 28, at Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church.
Visitation will take place at Gainous Funeral Home on Friday, April 27, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Viewing also is scheduled before the funeral from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Greater Friendship.
Burch was born March 20, 1918, in West Green Ga., one of six children of Golden and Lena Burch.
Known as a hardworking man, he loved listening to music, eating lots of candy, chewing his Red Man chewing tobacco, laughing and being around his children.
“All will attest to the fact that if you asked Bobby Lee Burch any kind of question, you knew that part of his answer would be telling the listener how proud he was of his 12 children,” is a quote in the program that will be passed out to those attending Saturday’s funeral.
Bentley, Durham both on program
On the program, the Rev. J.C. Bentley, pastor emeritus of Greater Friendship and the pastor of the church when Burch first joined, will give words of comfort to the family. Dr. L. Ronald Durham, current pastor of the church, is scheduled to give the eulogy.
Durham said he held Burch in high esteem during the nine years he has been pastor of the church.
“He epitomizes the biblical example of what it means to be a Christian father and church leader. Throughout his life, he has been dedicated to providing not just the tangible necessities for his children, but more importantly, he provided them with a godly example of humility and service,” Durham added.
Lauded as ‘great role model’
Mary Kendrick, former Daytona Times employee, who now resides in Atlanta, worked with Burch at Greater Friendship.
“Deacon Burch was always helpful and willing to do whatever he was asked to do to help anyone he could. If you called him and asked him to repair something or see what was wrong with something, he would come to see what he could do to take care of the problem,” Kendrick added.
“Most of all, he was a man who believed in God, loved God, loved his church family and loved his family. May God continue to bless and keep his family in His care is our prayer.’’
Former Daytona Beach City Commissioner Gwen Azama Edwards said Burch leaves a great legacy for his family and others to imitate.
“Poppa Burch was a humble man of God and family man extraordinaire. He exemplified godly qualities of love for others, humility, caring, and a passion for life. He was the real deal, a great role model for men, husbands and fathers,” Azama Edwards said.
Fond memories of church member
Patricia Harper Bennett is a friend of the Burch family and a member of Greater Friendship.
“I got to know Deacon Burch when I had a boutique across the street from his home on Orange Avenue. He was a lifesaver for me when I needed something fixed right away. Even better, he often sent his grandchildren across the street just to check on me and see if I was OK,” Bennett noted.
Former Greater Friendship member Mark Mayhew, who is now a minister in the Florida Panhandle, also remarked about Burch’s dedication to his family.
“Deacon Burch was a role model and a fine example of leadership. He was always willing to lend a helping hand. I was preaching when I left Friendship. Deacon Burch was one of the men who encourage me into the ministry,” Mayhew added.
Church member Jan Houston was also fond of Burch.
“Deacon Burch was a lovable person, He was a good, spiritual man who loved God, the church, his family and he was indeed a people’s person, so kind and reached out to all,” said Houston.
Burch is survived by his children Barbara Wright, Lancaster, Texas; Montes Rosenthal (Orteal), Irving, Texas; Twilla Parker (Robert) Arcadia; Phyllis Blackshear (Major), Fairburn, Ga.; Linda Spearmon (Joe), South Daytona; Murtice Beamon (Frank), Daytona Beach; Janice Medlock (Lutrell), Deltona; Golden Dukes (Ezekiel), Crosby, Texas; Bobby Lee Burch, Jr.
(Felica) Warren, Mich.; John W. Burch (Brenda), Daytona Beach; Daytona Burch (Dietra) Dallas Texas; Veronica Burch, Daytona Beach; sisters-in-law Ernestine Burch, Drissie Mae Williams and Natalie Conaway; 41 grandchildren; 72 great-grandchildren; and two great-great grandchildren.