Adell Burks

1919 ~ 2020 (age 101)


 BURKS, Adell was born Thursday, May 15, 1919 to James and Minnie (Moss) Peebles in Warfield, Virginia. Some 101 years later on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 the Lord called her home to rest from her labors. Adell was born into a family of eight siblings. She grew up on a farm in rural Brunswick County, Virginia where the primary crop was tobacco. They lived in a two-story six room wooden house, raised their own food, milked cows, churned their own butter, slaughtered their own meat and had an “outhouse” lavatory. She lived in a family with a sense of unity, joyous struggles, and hope for a better future through their faith in God and one another.  In those times many rural children received no formal education, but she did receive a third-grade education. She accepted the Lord as her personal savior and was a member of Piney Grove Church in Warfield, Virginia. As a young woman she worked in the commissary at a nearby army base where she met a soldier and future husband John D. Burks from Alabama. They married and moved to Middletown, Ohio seeking a better way of life. They both had a sense of family and were the catalyst to bringing their respective families to Ohio. They helped family members find jobs, homes, and new lives. Once or more times a year the Peebles/Williams/Burks family including Adell and sons would travel back to Virginia to visit the family members who did not move north; and they always had a joyous time of reunion. Medically, Adell was diagnosed to be unable to have children but did raise Virginia Drumgold as a daughter. However, in 1947, to their surprise they did have a son, John Austin Burks and six years after that another son, Louis Stevenson Burks. After the birth of her children she was ill for several years but eventually regained her health.  Adell and John wanted their children to have a better life than theirs and worked endlessly to provide a better home and opportunities for them. Adell and John became members of New Era Baptist Church in Middletown, Ohio. John served as a trustee and Adell as an usher and later served as the leader of the Youth Ushers.  She was known to use her considerable baking skills to bake cakes and other baked goods to entice the young ushers to come to practice sessions. After many years of service, she became regarded as a Mother of the Church. She was a homemaker and worked from time to time as a domestic worker, as a prep person for auctioneers, and in retail. Somehow her limited education never stopped her from doing whatever she wanted to do. She was a social person who had many friends and loved to go places. She loved shopping and had an eye for the latest clothing styles and a highly developed skill for using the lay-a-way payment plan.  She spent several years as an active member of the Eastern Star organization. She loved being the hub of the extended family and enjoyed hosting holiday family dinners. Adell was excited about the new inventions and technologies of her time and we usually were one of the first families to get the latest TV and home appliances. She was always eager to give her ideas and suggestions to help others, but if you did not know her, sometime her suggestions might be taken as criticism, but in most cases that was not her intent. She helped a lot people for the sheer joy of doing so. Adell had a spirit of adventure and was not afraid to travel and try new things. In her later years she was cared for by her youngest son Louis Stevenson Burks, who lives in the Middletown area. He was devoted to her and made her later years stable with security and love. She loved her family, friends, community, and church and will be greatly missed. Adell is survived by Reverend John Austin Burks and wife Ernestine of Newark, Delaware, Louis Stevenson Burks and wife Suza of West Chester, Ohio, Virginia Drumgold of New York City, and her brother Jessie Peebles of Middletown, Ohio. Proceeding her to glory is her belated husband John D. Burks; her siblings Irene Williams, Jerkins Peebles, Annamae Williams, John Lee Peebles, Isaiah Peebles, and Ernest Peebles. She leaves a host of family members; six grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins. Walk through visitation 12 noon- 2 pm, Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at the House of Wheat Funeral Home, Inc., 2107 N. Gettysburg Ave., Dayton, OH. Graveside service will be held 12 noon Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at Woodside Cemetery, 1401 Woodside Blvd., Middletown, OH. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her honor to New Era Baptist Church, 1120 Yankee Road, Middletown, OH 45044 or via Cash App:  $NewEraBaptistOhio. On line condolences can be expressed at

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July 28, 2020

12:00 PM to 2:00 PM
House of Wheat Funeral Home, Inc.
2107 N. Gettysburg Ave.
Dayton, OH 45406

Graveside Service
July 29, 2020

12:00 PM
Woodside Cemetery
1401 Woodside Blvd.
Middletown, OH 45044

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