In memoriam: Emeritus missionary Edith Bleckley Burney, 88

Edith Burney

Edith Burney

Edith Bleckley Burney, an emeritus International Mission Board missionary who shared the gospel among Sub-Saharan African Affinity Peoples in Nigeria, died on her 88th birthday, Dec. 9, 2019.

Born in 1931 in Rabun Gap, Georgia, to Samuel and Adeline Coe Bleckley, she graduated from Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School and received the Bachelor of Arts from Bessie Tift College, Forsyth, Ga.; the Master of Education from Mercer University, Macon, Ga.; and the Master and Doctor of Religious Education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

At seminary, Burney met Robert S. Burney and they were married May 16, 1959. They were appointed missionaries to Nigeria on March 9, 1967, and both served at the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary in Ogbomosho for almost 30 years.

When seeking missionary appointment, Burney wrote that she made her first trip to Head of Tennessee Baptist Church, Dillard, Ga., as a baby. There, at age 7, she accepted Christ as her Savior. A few weeks later, she dedicated herself to missionary service.

”When warm weather came,” she wrote, “I was baptized in Betty’s Creek and received into full fellowship in the church. Now my ultimate goal was to grow up, get educated, and be a missionary telling of God’s love.”

She did just that. In Nigeria, Burney filled a variety of roles, focusing especially on children, such as teaching in the school for missionary children or writing curriculum for children. She taught and modeled how to work with children in seminary classes, at the seminary’s Preschool Religious Education Center and in her local church. She also advised volunteers who did outreach in the community.

After retiring from the mission field, the Burneys continued to be active in missions, religious education and church outreach.

Predeceased by her husband, Bob, Edith is survived by her daughter, Elizabeth “Libbi” Burney Hamilton (Robert) of Newberg, Ore.; her son, Robert Bleckley Burney (Kimberley Goh-Burney) of Myrtle Beach, S.C.; and three granddaughters.

A funeral service was held Dec. 15, 2019, at the Head of Tennessee Baptist Church.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Burney’s memory to the International Mission Board, 3806 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230, or to Operation Christmas Child.

Read an obituary here.