Mildred Burgess, 72, teacher, musician

September 11, 2006

Mildred V. Burgess, who taught in Baltimore public schools for more than 27 years and was a keyboard player with Baptist choirs, died of a heart attack Tuesday at University of Maryland Hospital. She was 72 and lived in Westport.

Mrs. Burgess fell in love with the piano at the age of 6 and played much of her life with the Unity Baptist Church Choir in Elkridge, recalled her sister, Rachel McClellan of Baltimore.

As a young woman, she performed with a gospel choir Sunday mornings on the Pauline Wells Lewis radio show on WSID-AM.

During the 1950s, Mrs. Burgess' group, the Twilight Gospel Singers, once appeared with Mahalia Jackson and the Clara Ward Singers at Gillis Memorial Christian Community Church in Baltimore.

For more than two decades, until her retirement in 1990, Mrs. Burgess taught at Westport Elementary School.

Born Mildred Butler, she grew up in Howard County and in 1953 married Frank E. Burgess, whom she met at Harriet Tubman High School. She graduated from Coppin State College.

A funeral service will be held at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow at Unity Baptist Church, 7204 Montgomery Road, Elkridge.

In addition to her husband and sister, she is survived by six daughters, China Burgess, Sheila Burgess, Cynthia Burgess, Patricia Burgess, Danita-Ann Burgess and Karen Burgess, all of Lansdowne; another sister, Catherine Adams of Baltimore; a brother, Clarence Butler of Baltimore; and seven grandchildren.

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