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.


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