Burnout native honored with memorial service

Published 1:51 am Saturday, December 24, 2016

Today’s writing is a review and tribute to the life and memorial service of Edith Susannah (Drake) Grumbine, a beloved native of the Burnout community. Edith was buried December 10, 2016, in the historic Veasey Cemetery, which was featured in last week’s column. She was reared within two miles of the cemetery. After being graduated from Brantley High School, she did an internship in cosmetology with her sister, Delano (Drake) Gillian, in Greenville. She then moved to Auburn to secure a job in that field. There she met her husband, James Ridgley Grumbine, who was seeking a degree in veterinary medicine.

Upon his graduation, the young couple moved to his home in the State of Maryland where they both lived out their lives. At her husband’s death in 2008, she had his remains brought back to her home and buried in her family plot in the Veasey Cemetery. On December 10, her body was buried beside his grave.

Edith and James Ridgley Grumbine reared the following four children: James Drake, b. 1944, m. Peggy B. Romine; Charles Ridgley, b. 1945, d. 2010; Stephen Coale, b. 1949, m. Margaret Triplett; and Karen Susanne, b. 1954, m. Michael Wayne Norton. James. D. has one daughter, Jane Brooks (Grumbine) Smith. Stephen and Margaret have one daughter, Silence Grumbine, m. Eric Belcher, and they have an infant son, Eames Ridgley Belcher. Susanne and Michael have one daughter, Carlye Susannah (Norton), m. Alan Lee.

Edith’s funeral was held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, December 10, in the Weed Baptist Church, which is located nearby in the former Weed School. The building is located on SR 43, Old Three Notch Road, in the southwestern section of Crenshaw County. The memorial service was conducted by Brother Ed Russell, which included a family eulogy. The congregation of relatives and friends sang three hymns, “The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, Is Ended,” “In the Sweet By and By” and “Glory Be to the Father.” Following the service the family traveled the short distance to the Veasey Cemetery for the interment.

The following is a eulogy written by Edith’s daughter, Susanne Norton, and read during the ceremony by a granddaughter, Silence (Grumbine) Belchur. “In a family full of daughters, Edith was the most like her mother, ‘Miss Sugar.’ She did not perform acrobatics like her sisters Collyer and Jo. She did not seek business success nor serve as a third parent like her sister Delano. Though she occasionally danced the Charleston for school programs, she tended to stay in the background; and when she became a woman she spent her days quietly being the anchor for her family and putting her own needs behind those of her husband and children.


“She met our father when she went to Auburn for a job as a hairdresser. To the end of his days she considered her husband the most intelligent and interesting man she’d met. That says a lot when you consider that during the 1940s there were 10 men to every woman in Auburn; (a fact which made her think she’d already died and gone to Heaven).  Although there were tough times taking care of him at the end of his life, she still had that same feeling of pride that she was the one he wanted to marry.

“Maryland was not an easy place to come to for an Alabama girl raised in Burnout. The weather was cold and the people were much harsher in their manner than those from her home. She worried that she wouldn’t measure up to what people expected of Doc’s wife, and she became flustered when anyone commented on her southern accent because she was afraid they would find her backwards. This is pretty ironic because anyone who has ever listened to the Maryland accent, particularly a Baltimore accent, knows she needn’t have worried about how her speech sounded.

“Instead of the impression she feared, most people around Unionville were amazed that Grump managed to hook such a beauty. One fellow in particular always sat behind her in church just so he could watch the light hit the reds in that Thomasson hair. Her husband’s brother snatched her up and drove her around the neighborhood doing the farm chores so that he could be seen with her before people knew she was Dad’s; and all of us children were so proud whenever she came to school because we had the prettiest mother, and the other kids always made such a fuss over her. They loved spending time at our house, not just because of how sweet she was to them, but she was also the only one up there who knew how to make biscuits.

“It’s always a mystery as to why our Father in Heaven chooses the end he gives to each of our lives. We have doubts when someone who has spent their life making others miserable and satisfying only themselves passes quickly and painlessly in their sleep while someone who served others selflessly and went without, spends months suffering an unmerciful disease.

“Though she was lucky to have relatively little pain until the final few days of her life, Edith was a slave to her illness for her last few months.  Through God’s mercy she spent her last afternoon peacefully in the company of her sons, her granddaughter and her new great-grandson, Eames. As her breath slowed and left quietly, Susie held her hand and talked about the good times Edith had during childhood with her family and the people and places she loved.

“The heart of our home in Maryland has gone now and it will be a long hard time filling the hole she’s left in our lives. She received a tribute on her condolence page at the funeral home in Maryland from a childhood friend of her sons. Though he hadn’t seen or spoken with her for years, he wrote the following:”

“I am so sorry to read about your mother’s passing. I will always remember her as a beautiful, red-headed southern girl. She never lost her southern charm and grace. For that you should be very grateful. As a kid, little did I know I would end up living in Alabama for 40 years. I remember Charles and Jimmy talking about their trips to Alabama and I thought that Alabama must be a really special place. Years later I found out that it is. You can take comfort in the fact that you had a very special mother and father. I became an avid Alabama football fan while living in Mobile. In honor of your mother and father, this one time I will happily say “War Eagle.”

Edith’s burial service was concluded with brief remarks and prayer by Minister Ed Russell. Her remains were placed beside the grave of her husband and at the foot of her parents in the family plot at Veasey Cemetery.

Anyone who might have a question regarding this writing is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net. Curtis is a first cousin, once removed, to Edith (Drake) Grumbine.