Obituaries » Susan Spence Burnett

Susan Spence Burnett

April 19, 1940 - December 18, 2022

Susan Spence Burnett passed into the arms of her Savior, Jesus Christ, on December 18, 2022, after a hard-fought battle with cancer. Born in St. Louis, Mo., on April 19, 1940, she was predeceased by her parents, Charles A. and Kathleen Downs Spence; brother, Lynn Talley “Jug” Spence; daughter-in-law, Angela Peters Higgins; and stepson, Bruce Burnett.

Sue is survived by her husband, Rudy Burnett, of Madison Heights, Va.; and children and their families: Stephen Higgins (Terri) of Madison Heights, Va., Stuart Higgins, DDS (Kelley) of Raleigh, N.C., and Kathleen Nevill (Carter) of Warrenton, Va. She adored her grandchildren: Lauren and Todd Higgins; Nicholas, Zachary, and Gabriel Higgins; and Hugh Nevill; and two stepchildren, their spouses, and families, for a total of twenty-one grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.

Sue and her brother were graduates of St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, in Austin, Tex. She then came east to attend Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, in Lynchburg, Va. She interrupted college, married, and moved to Amherst County, making that her lifetime home.

In the 1970s, she enrolled at Central Virginia Community College, where she excelled in the medical laboratory technician program, fulfilling her lifelong desire to work in the medical field. She spent her career at Lynchburg General Hospital, retiring at age 79 because of health concerns.

In the 1980s, Sue completed a degree in Christian Counseling from Liberty University, which she willingly applied to many volunteer positions, including Kids’ Haven, Roads to Recovery, and Northminster Evangelical Presbyterian Church, where she accepted a multitude of roles. Sue and Rudy were recognized by Gov. Douglas Wilder in the early 1990s as Volunteers of the Year for the Commonwealth of Virginia, primarily for their work at the Arise Treatment Center in Lynchburg.

Sue was treasured by her family and friends for her keen and quirky wit, selfless compassion and generosity, and the need to appear at every event, sickbed, or holiday, bearing food.

She was a devoted fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and the Virginia Cavaliers. Sue also was a voracious reader, and especially enjoyed vacationing on the Outer Banks of North Carolina in the fall.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, January 6, 2023, at Northminster Evangelical Presbyterian Church, at 12 noon. The family will receive friends following the service.

The family asks that those who wish to make a memorial gift to consider Roads to Recovery, 3000 Langhorne Road, Lynchburg, VA 24501, or her beloved church, Northminster Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 106 Clearview Road, Madison Heights, VA 24572.

Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Madison Heights, is assisting the family.

Condolences & Tributes

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Dear Terri, Steve and Family, I am so sorry for your tremendous loss. Terri, I know you fell in love with Steve’s Mom instantly. Now I see why. She certainly lived an intentional and giving life. God Bless you all, and I pray for peace for the family. Love, Mary Bryant

Posted by Mary Bryant on January 4, 2023

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