Rita Jo Burleson
Rita Jo Burleson, of Mexia,, passed away early in the morning on May 2, after being in a coma that resulted from a surgery in November 2012. After a valiant effort by her friends and family members to defeat this attack on her body, Rita and our Father God chose the greater victory and decided it was time for her to go to her real home, Heaven.
Rita was born in Mexia, on Sept. 5, 1933, in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Ward. She started school a year earlier than most, and also skipped a grade, and graduated from Waco High School in 1950, at age 16. She was an outstanding student, and had a scholarship to Baylor University, but chose instead to remain in Mexia and marry her life-long sweetheart, Don Burleson.
This past March was their 61st anniversary.
She and Don raised two children, Brenda Sue and Jimmy Don; and for over 30 years, Rita was an administrative assistant at the Mexia State School, where she helped establish and then assisted in managing the Foster Grandparent Program. Later she served as a full-time secretary for Living Word Church, in Groesbeck, where she and Don also served on the church board.
During the last 15 years, Rita had her own Bible-teaching and home-church ministry.
Rita loved everything about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. She loved the Word and was a very serious student of the Bible and an excellent Bible teacher. She loved the things of the Spirit. She also loved to pray, and many people can attest to the effectiveness of her prayers. It definitely was true of Rita that “in Him she lived and moved and had her being” (Acts 17:28).
She was a very kind, generous-to-a-fault person who, more than anything else, strived to follow God’s will and be a blessing to others. And she was. All who knew her loved her.
She was the kind of person that one always enjoys being around, and always felt edified after being in her presence.
Rita is survived by her husband, Don Rex Burleson; her two children, Brenda Burleson Pailes, and Jimmy Don Burleson; her son-in-law, William Pailes; her daughter-in-law, Eva Lawless Burleson; her only grandchild, Lacey Pailes, and the hundreds of friends in Texas, the United States and around the world, whose lives she blessed.
Although she will be missed a very great deal, her family and friends rejoice that she is in Heaven with our Lord, Jesus. “She fought the good fight, she finished her course, she kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).
She was preceded in death by her parents, John Van Buren and Mabel Claire Cline Ward; and brother Lindy Ward.
Funeral services will be at 3 p.m., Sunday, May 5, at the Word Of Life Family Church in Groesbeck, with Mr. Bill Pailes and Pastor Randy Ayers officiating. Interment will follow in the Prairie Hill Cemetery.
Family visitation will be 5-7 p.m., Saturday at Blair-Stubbs Funeral Home in Mexia.
Visit blair-stubbs.com to leave the family a memorial message.