Willa M. Burns

Published 10:54 am Friday, December 31, 2010

Funeral services for Willa M. Burns, 87, were held Tuesday, Dec. 28, at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Detroit, Mich.

She was born Jan. 24, 1923, in Bainbridge, Ga., and died Dec. 19, 2010, in Michigan following a long illness.

She graduated from Hutto High School and attended Fort Valley State College in Fort Valley, Ga., majoring in social studies and history. After two years of college, she taught for three years at Mount Moriah School in Climax and West Bainbridge Elementary School before returning to Fort Valley and graduating with honors in 1954.

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She taught fifth grade at the State School for the Deaf in Baton Rouge, La., and moved to Detroit, where she obtained a Master’s of Education from Wayne State University with a specialization in teaching children with learning disabilities. She taught in the Detroit area schools, and was a very active member of Metropolitan Baptist Church in Detroit, receiving many honors for her work there. She founded the Shields Street Block Club and was a member of he Krainz Woods Neighborhood Organization. She was a member of Church Women United and the United Negro College Fund. In 1994, she received the Spirit of Detroit Award from the city for outstanding leadership and dedication to improving the quality of life in her community.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Howard Lausen Burns.

Survivors include her children, Derrick Burns and Jala Burns; three grandchildren; a sister, Vivian Austin, and a host of relatives and friends.

Barksdale Funeral Home-Northeast Chapel of Detroit was in charge of the arrangements.