Mother Burley Drafts Armstrong was 100 and departed this life Tuesday December 3, 2019 in Irmo, SC. She was the mother of Brenda A. Clark. You may visit the family at 221 Church St. Mullins.
Funeral services are scheduled to be held at the Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Mullins Sunday December 8, 2019 at 1:30 pm. She will be laid to rest in the Devotion Gardens Cemetery, Mullins. Public visitation will begin at 2 pm at Jackson-McGill Memorial Chapel. The OES Rites will be performed at 2 pm and Wake Services will from 6pm until 8 pm. Omega Omega services will be conducted by the Florence Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc during the Wake Services.
The Life of Burley Drafts Armstrong
She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Proverbs 3:15
Burley Drafts Armstrong, a native of Lexington, South Carolina, was born March 3, 1919. She departed this life Tuesday, December 3, 2019. She was the daughter of the late Frank Drafts and Lou Annie Gates Drafts Davis. She was also preceded in death by her sister Sue Drafts Keisler, and the love of her life, James Walter Armstrong, her husband of 65 years.
Burley attended the Lexington Rosenwald School. After graduating, she continued her education at Morris College, fulfilling her desire to become a teacher. Attending Morris College, with its religious affiliation, made her feel at home. She excelled as a student, receiving the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education in 1942. With the zeal and desire to advance as an educator, she earned the Master of Arts Degree in reading from North Carolina Central University in 1965.
Burley believed in lifelong learning and educating young minds. Her career as an educator spanned over 37 years. She nurtured and molded the lives of young people as a devoted classroom teacher, librarian, and principal. She held positions in Lake View, SC, Centenary, SC, Nichols, SC, and the Mullins, SC School Districts. In 1966, she became the first African American teacher to integrate the public schools in Mullins School District II. She retired in 1981.
At an early age she accepted Christ and heard the call to be a missionary worker. Her desire was to travel abroad as a missionary. But she realized there was much to be done at home. As a youth at St. Paul Baptist Church in Lexington, South Carolina, under the leadership and guidance of Rev. A. B. Bailey, she worked in the Sunday School, Baptist Training Union, and other youth and church activities. She was the only Junior Executive Board Member of the Gethsemane Baptist Association. In 1943, she joined Mt. Olive Baptist Church, and her work for the Lord continued as a member of the Senior Missionary Society, serving as President for 29 years. As Missionary President, she coordinated church and community mission projects, Christmas and Thanksgiving food baskets, Women’s Day observances, and the Missionary Jubilee. She also served as a youth advisor, adult women’s Sunday school teacher, Sunday school treasurer, and vice president of the senior ushers.
Her work and dedication did not stop at Mt. Olive and her local community. She was an advisor of youth for the Pee Dee Baptist Educational and Missionary Association, advisor of youth for Florence and Affiliated Counties Baptist Missionary and Educational Union, and the Woman’s Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina, assistant secretary, and vice-president of the Pee Dee Ushers Convention. As her service continued, she became actively involved with the Woman’s Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina under the leadership and presidency of the late Dr. Iola Jones. In 1971, Dr. Jones “took her under her wings”, and appointed her a camp counselor and house mother at Camp Julia A. Starks/Dunbar Gandy, held each summer at Morris College. At the camp, she became known for “ringing the bell”,to wake campers each morning. In 1985, under the presidency of Dr. Mamie Coker, she was appointed Director of Foreign Missions and Coordinator of World Day of Prayer, and a member the Executive Board of the Women’s Convention.
Her involvement continued under six presidents. On June 16, 2011, at the 123rd Session of the Woman’s Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina, she stepped down from her positions as Director of Foreign Missions, Coordinator of World Day of Prayer, and camp counselor and housemother with Camp Julia A. Starks/Dunbar Gandy. She was honored for 40 years of dedicated service.
In 1983, she was featured in “Black Baptist Women of South Carolina:1888-1983”, a publication of the Woman’s Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina, highlighting the leadership of outstanding women in the convention. She was an ardent Christian worker for Christ and His cause. She was often asked to speak to church and missionary groups. She strongly believed we must always do God’s will.
Other affiliations and Awards: United Order of Tents of J.R. Giddings and Jollifee Union and South Carolina President and District Superintendent, Order of the Eastern Stars, Mystic Order Golden Eagles, Daughter of Elks, National Council of Negro Women ,NAACP, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (Diamond Life Member), Morris College President’s Award
She is survived by her daughter Brenda Armstrong Clark; granddaughter Natalie Clark Herbert and husband Vinson Herbert Jr; great granddaughters Mia and Zoe Herbert; nephews Clary Keisler (Barbara), Gaithan Galloway, Cousins James Gates, Della Gates Staley, Darlene Gates Robinson, Catherine Riley, and a host of other relatives and friends.
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