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William Thurmond Burnett

July 3, 1938 ~ February 2, 2024 (age 85) 85 Years Old

William Burnett Obituary

W. Thurmond Burnett, 85, husband of Cindy K. Burnett passed away February 2, 2024 at his
home after a courageous fight against cancer. He finished the race, kept the faith and stood
before his Lord and Savior with restored health, body and mind.

Thurmond, the son of the late James (Jim) E. and Carrie Langley Burnett grew up on the
Westside of Edgefield County where his parents instilled in him the pride of hard work and
service to his community. In 1949, he began his career at 11 years old with Mitchell’s Drug
Store on Main Street followed by years at the Edgefield Paint and Electric Store. But his passion
of helping others started in 1957 when he began working at Edgefield Mercantile Funeral
Home, obtained his funeral directors license in 1964 and ran ambulance service until 1971. In
1972, he purchased the Funeral Home and Jennie’s Flower Shop and has served the people of
Edgefield County during their most difficult times for 66 years.

If owning and operating his own businesses were not enough, he was elected as Edgefield
County Coroner in 1970 and served until January 1, 2018. In April 2018, Thurmond was
honored with the Order of the Palmetto by Governor Henry McMaster which is the highest
honor given to a civilian in the state of South Carolina for his many contributions to Edgefield
County and a 47-year position that made him the longest serving Coroner in South Carolina.
Thurmond would say, “I love fishing, hunting and southern cooking, but most of all I love
people”. He enjoyed talking with them and being with them. He credits the people of
Edgefield for his many accomplishments. He was a member of Edgefield First Baptist Church
and the Edgefield American Legion Post #30. He served on the board of directors for the
Edgefield Civic League and the Edgefield Cemetery Association. He retired as Fire Chief in 1988
after 30 years with the Edgefield Fire Department. In 2007 he was Edgefield County’s
Outstanding Citizen and in 2023 he was honored with the Distinguished Community Service
Award for his years as County Coroner.

Over the last years people would ask if he would ever retire from the Funeral Home. He would
say, “No, I love the people too much. They’ve been good to me all of these years. I thank them
for putting their trust in me and having faith in me”.

Thurmond carried on a Legacy to be proud of. He is survived by his wife and children David and
Kellie Burnett, Scott and Beverly Burnett Quarles of Edgefield, Amber and Chris Rosebach of
Davidson, NC and Kristy Whalen of Clinton, SC; four granddaughters, Carrie Ann (Mitch) Hanks
and Catherine Quarles both of Columbia, Allison and Addie Burnett of Edgefield; Laura, Kristina
and Damon Kempster of Laurens, SC; and 6 Great Grandchildren. As well as his longtime
friends and devoted co-workers Jean M. Walker, Willie B. Thomas, Luther Beason and the staff
of Edgefield Mercantile Funeral Home and Jennie’s Flower Shop.
He is predeceased by a sister Catherine B. Quarles and one brother James Maxie Burnett.

In lieu of flowers consider a donation to Edgefield Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 523,
Edgefield, SC 29824 and Wardlaw Academy, 1296 Columbia Road, Johnston, SC 29832 or a
place of your choice.

We would like to extend great appreciation to Ann Calliham who faithfully helped take care of
Thurmond over the last several months as well as Traditions Health Hospice and P&L
Homecare, LLC for their 24-hour caregivers.

Visitation will be held at Edgefield Mercantile Funeral Home on Tuesday, February 6 th from 5pm
to 8pm. Graveside services will be held at Sunset Gardens Memorial Cemetery in Johnston, SC on
February 7 th at 2:00pm.

Online Condolences: Edgefield Mercantile Funeral Home Inc.

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