Obituaries for Fri., Jan. 29, 2016

Published 1:05 am Friday, January 29, 2016

Hillery Lamar Burkett

Mr. Hillery Lamar Burkett, age 76, formerly of Red Level, passed away at Southeast Alabama Medical Center on Tues. Jan. 26, 2016.

Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. Thurs., Jan. 28, at Foreman Funeral Home Chapel with Roger Lee officiating the service. Interment followed in Fairmount Cemetery. Visitation will be an hour prior to services at the funeral home.

He was born March 7, 1939, to Evelyn Stephens and Hillery Burkett. He was reared in two places: Andalusia and Atlanta, Ga. His fondest memories in childhood were with his stepfather, Jack Stephens, and his grandfather, Emmett Stephens, Jr. in Red Level.

Lamar went to Bass High School in Atlanta and left when he was 17 to join the Marine Corps. In the Marine Corps he was chosen as the top Marine to represent the Marine Corps at presentations. He was always proud of being a Marine and thought it was a special service.

When he finished his military duties, he went back to Atlanta. He immediately went back to school at night while working during the day. He worked for Gulf Oil Corporation at a very large service station and was pictured in the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper. His picture was shown walking to work (three miles) during a very bad storm. The story was that he was the only service station attendant who went to work that day in Atlanta.

He graduated from high school in Atlanta and was given a one-year scholarship to college. After visiting several colleges he chose Troy State in Troy, Ala. After a year at Troy, he married Carolyn McKenzie Lawrence from Atlanta, on July 9, 1962. They moved near Troy State and Lamar graduated in June 1965 with a degree in education as an economics and social studies teacher.

He was hired that summer by NASA as one of the top 10 teachers in the country. He was paid by NASA to work with them at Cape Canaveral and learn about the space program. He loved seeing the astronauts and learning about the space program.

When he graduated, he and Carolyn acquired teaching jobs in Ozark, Ala. Ozark was near Ft. Rucker and they taught students of helicopter pilots who had their final instruction there and then went to Vietnam. They enjoyed helping their students send letters and packages to the parents in Vietnam and watching the helicopters practice overhead their schools. In the 3rd year, Lamar became a principal.

In 1970, Carolyn and Lamar moved to Orlando, Fla. Lamar finished his master’s degree in 1972 at Rollin’s University in Winter Park, Fla. In Orlando, he taught many subjects in social studies, with his favorite job being at Boone High School where he taught Advanced Placement seniors. He was named teacher of the year for 12 consecutive years at the very large Boone High School. He loved mentoring his students especially teaching them thinking skills. He became a “Mr. Chips” type of teacher and was rewarded for his outstanding work.

Because he thought social studies should be very interesting, he studied very old books, going to book stores to find ones with interesting and unknown facts about famous events and people. Carolyn loves to tell the story about him finding out that George Washington had wooden teeth.

No matter what job he had throughout his life, he excelled in everything he did. He was an outstanding craftsman with his hands and a certified mechanic, which was another skill he earned at night. He enjoyed being outside and hand-cleared a 3-acre lot on the Intercostal Waterway outside of New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

Though they divorced in 1985, Lamar and Carolyn remained close friends throughout his life. He lived in Dothan with his favorite dog named Peso, and became very close to his sister, Shirley, her husband, Tommy, and their family. He adored Shirley and Tommy and was always bragging about them. Shirley and Tommy were his close family for many years and brought him much happiness. He is remembered by all who knew him as an exceptionally intelligent person. He had an outstanding sense of humor, and those who knew him valued every minute they could spend with him. He was always a very private person, and many of his family and friends would be surprised to know all of the interesting and outstanding things he did in his life.

Mr. Burkett is survived by and will be missed dearly by Carolyn McKenzie Lawrence, his sister and brother-in-law, Shirley and Tommy Watt of Dothan; a niece, Sonya (Kerry) McLaney of Hartford, Ala.; nephew, Stephen (Nicole) Berry of Georgia; great nieces and nephews, Hali (Justin) Phillips, Kade McLaney, Daniel Berry, and Mallory Berry; one great-great nephew, Dawson Phillips; and a great friend and caregiver, Chuck Kirk.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Evelyn Stephens and Hillery Burkett; beloved step-father, Jack Stephens; and brothers, Johnny Stephens and Byron Burkett.

Pallbearers included Chuck Kirk, Justin Phillips, Tommy Watt, and Tom Watt.

Those unable to attend the services may sign the guest registry online at


Judy Hensley

Mrs. Judy Hensley, 66, of Opp passed away Thurs., Jan. 28, 2016, at her residence after a brief illness.

Funeral services will be held 10 a.m., Sat., Jan. 30, 2016, in the Keahey Funeral Home chapel with the Rev. Ed Ganus officiating. Interment will follow in the Harmony Cemetery with Keahey Funeral Home directing. The family will receive friends from 6 -8 p.m., Fri., Jan. 29, 2016, in the chapel.

Survivors include her husband, William Junior Hensley of Opp; sons, Danny Mock of Opp, David (Lori) Mock of Dothan, and Steve (Kelly) Hensley of Opp; daughters, Sandra (David) Calhoun of Opp, and Michelle (Bean) Bryant of South Carolina; brother, Odis Ray ( Reda ) Gunter of Gantt; sister, Janice (Don) Hartman of Loxley; grandchildren, Angel, Savannah, Ryan, Scoot, Ramsey, Keegan, Melanie, Jason, Ryan, Cody, Jacob, Dakota, Hannah and Justin; and great-grandchildren, John, Aiden, Bonnie, Naomi, Serenity, A.J., Lenley, Jay and Christian.

Judy Hensley was preceded in death by her parents, Floyd and Nannie Gunter, and brother, Emmett Gunter.


Wendle Mitchell

Mr. Wendle Mitchell, age 83, of Andalusia passed away Mon., Jan. 25, 2016, at Andalusia Regional.

A graveside memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Fri., Jan. 29, 2016, at River Falls Cemetery with the Rev. Durwood Cleland officiating and Keahey Funeral Home directing.

Survivors include his son, Patrick (Cheryl) Mitchell of Ft. Walton; daughters, Mary Catherine Mitchell of Somersworth, N.H., Maureen (Erich) Schwab of San Antonio, Texas,

And Kathleen (Craig) Cram of Somersworth, N.H.; brother, Havaerd (Jeainie) Mitchell of Tallassee, Ala.; sisters, Katherine Thomas of Andalusia, Joyce (Bob) Lynch of River Falls, Ala.; and five grandchildren.