The Life After

Life after loosing one of your parents is indescribably different. I liken it to an unvisible injury…you look normal, sound normal, maybe even act normal, but inside you are wounded, mourning the loss of a loved one. 

Today was going through some of my mother’s things. And something unexpected happened. I got to know her a little better. I saw old pictures of her I had never seen, saw things of hers I wondered where she got them and why? Items that surely woyld tell a story, no matter how small, if they only could. 

A friend of mine made comment of my mother’s mischievous nature, and asked when the “treasure hunt” will start. She knows my mother loved things like that amd no kne would be surprised to find hints and clues as to whatever she might be leading us to hunt. And indeed it has started, justcaa she planned. Now, if I can figure out the next clue…

I feel her with me. Maybe it’s the photos, or smelling her perfume in her clothes (I loved how she smelled) or knowing she is enjoying watching the hunt, I know she is near. And this gives me comfort.

Obituary: Geneva (Genny) Burch

My lovely mother:

Geneva Burch Obituary


“He drew a circle that shut me out
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!”

This quote describes Genny’s life philosophy. She dedicated her life to serving others, whether through helping foster children, cooking a good meal, serving in church, helping a stranger or consoling a broken spirit.

Geneva (Genny) Sams, was born on May 16, 1941 to Coy and Ada Sams in Oneida, Tennessee. She went to Scott County High School and graduated in 1959.

After graduating, she joined the Air Force and followed her wanderlust to Washington DC. There she worked at the Pentagon on Project Mercury and with Lieutenant General Thomas K. McGehee, General Curtis Emerson LeMay, and General Isaac D. White. After leaving the Pentagon, she worked on classified government projects with AT&T, until leaving Washington in 1967.

In addition, to achieving measurable career success in Washington, DC, she met the love of her life, James Burch. Genny and James wed on November 21, 1967, a wedding date set and shared by her soon to be mother-in-law. With this union, Genny was also gifted three stepchildren – Carolina (Carie, James and Byrn Boothe (Boots). Genny also blessed her husband with two daughters, Rita Lynn and Ada Lamar.

In 1969, she and Jim moved to Ontario Canada, where they lived for 5 years. After that they moved to Lake City, FL in 1974 where she was a dedicated mother and home maker. The family also spent time in Albany, GA, and Wauchula, FL before calling Valdosta, GA home in 1985. She and James moved to Donalsonville, GA in 2001.

Genny was a devoted wife for 49 years and an amazing and patient mother, who in addition to raising her own children, fostered 63. She loved children. Genny was small in stature, but had a personality that can only be described as larger than life – a force of nature, having survived stage 4+ ovarian cancer in 2001.

She was feisty and was often described as mischievous, loving to play practical jokes. Children gave her the most joy, as did her extended family and friends. She loved gardening, reading, cooking, talking, politics and drinking wine. She also loved writing, and even wrote and published her own children’s book titled “My Name is Bobby Claus”.

On July 13, 2016, Genny succumbed to complications from a short illness. She was surrounded by love and family. She will be greatly missed

She leaves to cherish her life, her loving husband, James, their two children Rita Lynn Mahoney (Brian Mahoney), Marietta, GA and Ada Lamar Burch, Lawrenceville, GA; three grandsons (whom she loved very much), James, Brian Jr., and William Mahoney; and her sister, Maxine Sams Berryman, Jacksonville, FL. She is also survived by three stepchildren, Carie Burch Quigley, Pleasant Hill, NY; James Oswald Burch III, Wilmington, NC; Boots Burch Quimby, Bethesda,MD.

She reunites in heaven with her parents Coy and Ada Sams, and her siblings, Dovie Sams Foster, Wiley Sams, Juanita Sams, and Cora Bell Reed.

A memorial service and celebration of her life will be held on Saturday July, 23rd at 2pm at St Barnabas Episcopal Church, Valdosta, GA. Please bring stories of the mischievous lady.

Genny Burch – she loved.


My Mother’s Passing

She was magic.  She taught us how to catch butterflies, make home made bread, make a bed with hospital corners, tie my shoes, sing silly songs, how to read, she is the reason I am a writer…she is the reason why I am who I am, because I am my mother’s daughter. And now I must learn how to live without her.  This wonderful, magical, strong, independent, feisty, loving loyal woman.

On July 13th, my beautiful mother, passed away.  My father and I were holding her hands. She did not suffer. She very peacefully and gently slipped from our hands into the big hands of God.  While it was the most painful moment of my life, it was also the most beautiful.  It was my honor and privileged to be there for her, in her moment in that her journey.  She was surrounded by love, and I believe she chose that moment herself.

You drew a circle that shut me out, but love and I had the wits to win, we drew a circle that took you in.

Even though we were very close, even though I was there for her during the last 3 weeks, even though we talked almost every day, what I would not give for just one more hug, just one more chance to tell her I love her, just one more chance to hear her voice.  Hug your loved ones close, tell them you love them every chance you get, make sure they know.

Even though it is the way of nature – that children say goodbye to their parents, it is a very painful time.  I loved my mother very much and I will miss her every day of my life.

And there really is no way to describe such a wonderful woman, who was so full of live, so magic, so wise, and so loved.  She was a wonderful wife for 49 years, and an amazing mother. She raised 2 children, 3 grandchildren, and 63 foster children.

So many memories, so such laughter so much love.  And above everything that is her legacy: Love

Genny Burch. She LOVED.