OBITUARY: Martha Vance Burns


Martha Vance Burns, age 93, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee died on the morning of 22 July 2021at Alive Hospice in Murfreesboro, after both extended and recent illnesses.

A native of Sanders Fork in Cannon County, Tennessee, Martha was the 12th child of 14 born to her father, James Hall Vance, and the 5th child of 7 born to her mother, Miza Elizabeth Jones Vance along with her twin sister, Mary, on 04 August 1927. Mrs. Burns was only 13 days shy of her 94th birthday.

She was preceded in death by her sweetheart husband of 61 years, William Curtis “Bill” BURNS in 2014, a great granddaughter, Olivia Jayne Hinson, her parents, forementioned, and her Vance siblings: Oran, Osee, Otis, Ruby, Baxter, Bernice, Unia Margie, Carmine, Nell Gray, Rachel, Joseph, and Mary (fraternal twin) and sisters/brothers-in-law.

Funeral services will be held 1:00 PM on Thursday, July 29, 2021, at Woodfin Memorial Chapel in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Dr. Mike Norris of Franklin Road Baptist Church will officiate. Burial will be at Roselawn Memorial Gardens with family members serving as pallbearers.

Survivors include daughters, Mary Melissa Burns Aldridge (William Gilbert Aldridge), Gena Marie Burns-Harrison (Charles William “Charlie” Harrison); 4 Grandchildren: Ryan Aldridge (Kerri), Susan Aldridge Hinson (Bradley), Lauren Harrison, and Collin Harrison; and 7 great grandchildren: William Ryan Aldridge, Ava Malynn Aldridge, Amelia Elizabeth Aldridge, William Zachary Swafford, Katie Anne Glore Hinson, Mary Elizabeth Hinson, Megan Grace Hinson; and Mrs. Burns baby sister, who is two years her junior, Rebecah Ann “Peggy” Vance Wilson and brother-in-law, Leslie Thomas Miller (the husband of twin sister Mary); also many, many nieces and nephews and their respective families.

Mrs. Burns professed faith in Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior in her early 20s. She was a long-time member of Franklin Road Baptist Church where she served as director of shut-in ministry, The Hearts of Love, for 25 years.

She appeared in her own hand-sewn costumes, as Cousin Minnie Pearl and Martha Washington at events held at FRBC and Cannonsburgh.

Over the many years between Nashville and Murfreesboro, she served as Deacon’s wife, Director of WMU, Sunday School teacher, Choir member—being gifted with a strong and beautiful alto voice. She was also a long-time member of The Ladies Auxiliary of The Gideon’s International.

She and her husband were members of The Stones River Antique Automobile Club. They loved to show Bill’s restored antique and vintage automobiles. They also volunteered at Cannonsburgh for many years.

She was a semi-pro basketball player in the late 1940s and early 1950s, playing and touring with Parisi (tailoring company) Dreamettes, Nashville Business College, and Tennessee Highway Patrol, dressing out at 6’0″ on the court. As a Center/Guard, she made MVP at the Nashville Tournaments in the early 1950s. She is included with her team in the Women’s’ Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville Tennessee.

She worked as a bookkeeper in Nashville, Tennessee at Phillips and Buttorff prior to marriage, and later, for her brother, Baxter Vance’s business for a few years after marriage.

She served as a wedding coordinator. She also made her own draperies and made Gena’s very elaborate wedding dress. She enjoyed cooking, baking, canning, freezing, and home decorating, and she was a trained milliner—and a life-long hat wearer of her own creations and later store-bought hats.

She and Bill traveled extensively in Europe, throughout the United States, Canada-British Vancouver-Nova Scotia.

Bill and Martha served The Lord with their whole hearts and lived and enjoyed a very good life together.

Bill has been waiting for her for 7 years. She has now joined him, and they are together again in the Presence and Glory of GOD, The Father, Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit. After all these years, they are still about The Father’s business.

Visitation will be from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Thursday, July 29, 2021, at Woodfin Memorial Chapel.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Franklin Road Baptist Church ministries or to the Gideon’s International in memory of Mrs. Burns.

An online guestbook for the Burns family is available at

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