Thelma Evelyn Whitlow Burnley graced the garden of life and became a resident of the Providence community on October 16, 1927. As the daughter of Delbert and Mary Louise Pratt Whitlow, she was the sister of Nannie Bailey, Kathryn Shelton, Heloise Fitzgerald, Rev. Roy, Squire Thomas, and Harold Whitlow, who all preceded her in death.
She accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior at an early age and shared her acts of service at Lake Providence Missionary Baptist Church, under the pastorates of the late Rev. S. H. Simpson and Rev. H. Bruce Maxwell.
Her educational experiences were obtained from Providence Elementary, Haynes High School, and Tennessee A & I College, presently known as Tennessee State University.
She united in Holy Matrimony to James Burnley, who preceded her in death.
Her employment opportunities varied. She was a teacher in the Dept. of Education in Georgia, an operator for South Central Bell, an employee at Coca Cola Company, an RN at Baptist Hospital, a clerk at Capital Cleaners, a daycare provider at Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and an employee of the Metropolitan Election Commission from which she retired.
She was passionate about playing cards and working puzzles. Her fondness for hot peppers and making chow-chow pickle provided a tasty extra for meals with family and friends. However, a special delight for the family was her homemade elderberry wine. Aunt Thelma enjoyed phone conversations and laughing with persons who would drop by for a visit. Prior to her illness, she would sit on the front porch, chat with her neighbors, or wave at those passing by. From the porch, she was able to observe the changes on Flora Maxwell Avenue and the Providence community that she loved.
Although her womb never brought forth, her arms were able to provide “hugs” and her heart “love” to her devoted nieces and nephews. Cherishing the memories of her life are Rochelle Shelton, Cora Alston, Regina Patton, Michael Shelton, Nanette Johnson, Wanda Brown, Mary Bryant, Delbert Fitzgerald, Yolander Frye, Frank Shelton, William Whitlow, Kermit Whitlow, Ricky Whitlow, Morris Briley, Vicky Nelson, Johnnie Whitlow, Roderick Whitlow, Laquisha Whitlow, Lashay Whitlow, Terrence Whitlow, Caddius Whitlow, and many other family members. As well as endearing friends, Juanita Williams, Frances Davis, Melanie Fitzgerald, Langston Steel, and Reggie and Hattie Williams.
Special thanks to Cousin Faye Elliott, Marshchell Vereen, caregiver, Cornerstone, and Willowbrook Hospice.