On the evening of Friday, October 30th, 2020 God took our beloved husband, father, brother, and friend, Deacon Robert Burks, who was affectionally known as “BO”. His infectious laughter was one of his unique qualities that made everyone laugh. He never met a person that he considered a stranger, as he was loved by everyone.
Robert was born on February 23, 1947, in Duncan Mississippi to his parents Charlie and Irene Cooper-Burks. He leaves his wife Ora L. Burks of 26 years to cherish his precious memory. He also leaves a legacy of children who treasured him. His daughters Loretha Burks, Jauwanna Pitts (husband David), Trena Lejoyce Sanders, and his sons Tommy Martez Sanders (wife Ambor Sanders), and Ardis LeTroy Sanders. He also leaves to mourn his brothers Bobby Burks of Benton Harbor, MI, Johnny Burks of Shelby, MS, Ricky Burks of Duncan, MS along with his sisters Mary Ann Butler of Shelby, MS, Veola Burks and Sandra Burks of Shelby MS Caster (Tyrone) Thomas of Benton Harbor, MI. Lastly, he leaves an aunt, LeDora Smith of Wildwood FL, Four Sisters in-laws, two Brothers in-laws twenty-three grandchildren, twenty-two great-grandchildren, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. Additionally, “Pa” aka BO Burks had a very special connection with his grandson Tommy Shavard Sanders who will miss him dearly.
Robert gave his life to Christ at a very young age in Duncan, MS. He then moved to Benton Harbor, MI in 1966 where he met and married the love of his life, Ora L. Burks on August 25th, 1994. Deacon Burks joined St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church under the late Pastor Coleman Gray and Pastor John L. Price and he continued under the leadership of the current Pastor Donald E. Green Sr. BO sang in many groups with his outstanding voice, at St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church, he was a member of the male chorus, and led songs like “I Don’t Know Why”, “He Placed My Feet,” and “I had a Contract with Jesus.” Moreover, BO was well received in the Southwest Michigan community as an excellent vocalist as he sang in various gospel groups such as The Soul Revival, and was the lead singer of the Gospel Inspiration Singers.
Deacon Burks was a hard-working man and a great provider for his wife and children. He worked at three major companies while he lived in Benton Harbor, MI until he retired. He was a loyal employee of the Maliba Foundry, Superior Steel, and the Benton Harbor Area Schools.
He was preceded in death by his parents Charlie and Irene Cooper-Burks, daughter Linda Faye Burks, son Robert Ray Burks, his sister Doris Gross, six brothers Wille, Eddie, J.D., Earnest Charlie Jr, Melvin Burks, and James Moore I.
One of Deacon Burks favorite scriptures from the Bible was, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) and as stated in his Deacon Appreciation Award BO lived his life by scripture 1 Timothy 3: 8-13 “The Deacons must be: grave, not double tongues, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience, be proved, use the offices of a deacon and being found blameless, the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. “For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and a great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
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