W. Thurmond Burnett, 85, husband of Cindy K. Burnett passed away February 2, 2024 at his home after a courageous fight against cancer. He finished the race, kept the faith and stood before his Lord and Savior with restored health, body and mind.
Thurmond, the son of the late James (Jim) E. and Carrie Langley Burnett grew up on the Westside of Edgefield County where his parents instilled in him the pride of hard work and service to his community. In 1949, he began his career at 11 years old with Mitchell’s Drug Store on Main Street followed by years at the Edgefield Paint and Electric Store. But his passion of helping others started in 1957 when he began working at Edgefield Mercantile Funeral Home, obtained his funeral directors license in 1964 and ran ambulance service until 1971. In 1972, he purchased the Funeral Home and Jennie’s Flower Shop and has served the people of Edgefield County during their most difficult times for 66 years.
If owning and operating his own businesses were not enough, he was elected as Edgefield County Coroner in 1970 and served until January 1st 2018. In April 2018, Thurmond was honored with the Order of the Palmetto by Governor Henry McMaster which is the highest honor given to a civilian in the state of South Carolina for his many contributions to Edgefield County and a 47-year position that made him the longest serving Coroner in South Carolina.
Thurmond would say, “I love fishing, hunting and southern cooking, but most of all I love people”. He enjoyed talking with them and being with them. He credits the people of Edgefield for his many accomplishments. He was a member of Edgefield First Baptist Church and the Edgefield American Legion Post #30. He served on the board of directors for the Edgefield Civic League and the Edgefield Cemetery Association. He retired as Fire Chief in 1988 after 30 years with the Edgefield Fire Department. In 2007 he was Edgefield County’s Outstanding Citizen and in 2023 he was honored with the Distinguished Community Service Award for his years as County Coroner.
Over the last years people would ask if he would ever retire from the Funeral Home. He would say, “No, I love the people too much. They’ve been good to me all of these years. I thank them for putting their trust in me and having faith in me”.
Thurmond carried on a Legacy to be proud of. He is survived by wife and children David and Kellie Burnett, Scott and Beverly Burnett Quarles of Edgefield, Amber and Chris Rosebach of Davidson, NC and Kristy Whalen of Clinton, SC;four granddaughters, Carrie Ann (Mitch) Hanks and Catherine Quarles both of Columbia, Allison and Addie Burnett of Edgefield; Laura, Kristina and Damon Kempster of Laurens, SC; and 6 Great Grandchildren. As well as his longtime friendsand devoted co-workers Jean M. Walker, Willie B. Thomas, Luther Beason and the staff of Edgefield Mercantile Funeral Home and Jennie’s Flower Shop.
He is predeceased by a sister Catherine B. Quarles and one brother James Maxie Burnett.
In lieu of flowers consider a donation to Edgefield Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 523, Edgefield, SC 29824 and Wardlaw Academy, 1296 Columbia Road, Johnston, SC 29832 or a place of your choice.
We would like to extend great appreciation to Ann Calliham who faithfully helped take care of Thurmond over the last several months as well as Traditions Health Hospice and P & L Homecare, LLC for their 24-hour caregivers.
Visitation will be held at Edgefield Mercantile Funeral Home on Tuesday, February 6th from 5pm to 8pm.
Graveside services will be held at Sunset Gardens Memorial Cemetery in Johnston, SC on February 7th at 2:00pm.