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Robert Lawrence Burnham was born on May 16, 1940, in Sanitorium, Mississippi, to Benjamin Robert Burnham and Johnnie Iris Burnham. His mother was in the TB Sanitorium for treatment and had no idea that she was pregnant. Sometime that night she started having pain and asked for the doctor who was an old retired doctor. He saw right away that she was going to have a child, and then he delivered Bob who weighed a little over 2 pounds. They put him in a shoebox because they did not expect him to live. His Aunt Eloise was an army nurse stationed in Corpus Christi, Texas. When she heard of his birth, she got a ride on an army plane to Jackson, Mississippi. Aunt Eloise then caught a bus to Sanitorium, and picked up Bob because his mother was too weak. She took him to Jackson where he was placed in an incubator. She stayed with him until he got able to travel which was a period of several weeks. Then Aunt Eloise was able to get on a bus with Bob and travel to Perkinston, Mississippi where their family lived. Greeting Bob was his sister Evelyn Jean who was just 5 years old, and that was all the family except for cousins and aunts and uncles and Grandfather Alonzo Garner who owned a large farm in Perkinston. Needless to say that Bob survived and grew into a tall man at 6 feet 2 inches.So he was a miracle from the beginning because he wasn't expected to live. Bob graduated from Perkinston High School where he mowed the grass. He went to Perkinston Junior College and then on to the University of Southern Mississippi for his Masters' Degree. He taught school at Perkinston Junior College on 3 different campuses. Bob's mother served as a substitute teacher while his father worked in Pascagoula welding the ships in the shipyard. Mr. Burnham also threaded pipe. After his grandfather's death, the family built a home in Wiggins, Mississippi. Bob felt a responsibility for his family as his father became very ill, He got a job at Holmes Junior College in Goodman, Mississippi in the Mississippi Delta. Eventually he was hired at the resident center in Natchez, Mississippi for the University of Southern Mississippi. He bought a home in Natchez and stayed several years, He had a gift for teaching and explaining things for which his many students were grateful. He was hired by the Social Security Administration in Bessemer, Alabama and also served in Jasper. He also worked for the Alabama State Disability Agency. He finally returned to teaching when he was hired as the principal for Minor Christian Academy. Then he was hired by Jefferson State Community College where he had a long career and earned many honors. At retirement which came when he was 70 years old, he joined his wife Carol Ann Wagley Burnham and their cat Peep-Eye at their home in Center Point, AL. Bob had a vivacious and gracious personality and lively sense of humor. He enjoyed accompanying his wife to various concerts, movies and plays. They weren't able to have children, but they helped other people's children. His favorite sports were swimming and diving, and he was accomplished at both activities. They also loved fishing. Bob enjoyed planting flowers and seeing things bloom and eating out at various cafes. He and Carol made trips to Puerto Rico, Canada, California, Acapulco, France, Greece, Egypt, Russia and Portugal as well as Israel and other places. There was only one Bob, but if you knew him, you could not forget him. He loved to laugh. He is survived by his wife, Carol, several cousins and a host of friends. He was related on his mother's side of the family to Vice President John Nance Garner who served under Franklin D. Roosevelt, John Nance Garner was famous for saying that the vice presidency was not worth a bucket full of warm spit! Bob had faith in God who blessed him with 82 years of life. If he had lived, he would have made it to his 46th wedding anniversary. He and Carol had a good marriage. Bob passed away August 25, 2022, at 12:47 in the afternoon. He was at home with his wife. The funeral will take place on Thursday, September 1, at 11 a.m.at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints with Bishop Jaron Cahoon officiating. There will be a visitation at the church from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Burial will follow at the Jefferson Memorial Cemetery at 12:45 p.m.
Thursday, September 1, 2022
10:00 - 11:00am
Thursday, September 1, 2022
Starts at 11:00am
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