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Laura Elisa Linch was born at Georgia Baptist Hospital (now closed) to Samuel “Sam” H. Linch and Faye A. Linch on October 16, 1938. From birth to age 8 she lived in West End, in a two-story duplex with her parents and baby brother Albert on the bottom floor and on the top floor was her mother’s sister Analisa and her husband Ben Trimble as well as her cousins Ben Andres and Jessie. She attended Peeple’s Street Elementary. Briefly during the war her family was stationed in Miami, as her dad was in the Navy. His job was to keep an eye out for German U-boats along the coast. In 1947 her family went to war torn Germany at the direction of the US state department, as her father was an educator and involved with a team of educators to de-Nazify the educational system. She would tell her daughter Andrea of riding in war-torn Berlin in a US Army Ambulance as her school bus and living in a house with a bombed-out room that was commandeered by the US Army from a former Nazi official with a maid who survived hiding from German soldiers. While in Germany, she lived in Berlin, Bad Neuheim, Nuremburg, and Frankfurt am Main. She also lived in Vienna, Austria for a time and went to a boarding school in Salzburg. From the time she was in Elementary school until she graduated from high school, her family traveled all over Europe and back and forth to the states on ocean liners and in military planes. In her tenth-grade year she went to five different schools. In 1957 she graduated from a high school in Maryland as her father worked in Washington DC. She then attended the University of Maryland where she studied World History with emphasis on Asia Minor and received an education degree in 1961. Her minor was Special Education. Shortly thereafter her father was transferred to Tehran, Iran. She went with her parents and taught school at a Presbyterian Mission school. She even taught a relative of the progressive Shah of Iran and met some of the women who were in Parliament at the time. In 1963 she had planned for a world tour on her return trip to America, while her parents remained working for the US State Department in Tehran, Iran. She traveled to Egypt, Israel, India, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Hawaii, San Francisco, and cross country to Atlanta on a bus, stopping in Los Angeles, the Grand Canyon, and New Orleans. Once back in Georgia she began teaching in Cherokee county, living in Roswell some with her Aunt Analisa and in Atlanta. She also worked nights at Hank and Jerry’s Hideaway, a dinner theater off Peachtree St behind stage as she also took theater courses in Maryland and enjoyed the behind the scenes of theater life. In 1964 she met and fell in love with a singer at the club, Dixwell Burnham. They married at St Michael’s chapel at St Phillips Episcopal Cathedral in Atlanta April 24, 1965. On May 25, 1967, Michelle was born and on March 31, 1971, Andrea was born. As a family they lived in West End, Decatur and Stone Mountain, Ga. She was a teacher and received her Master’s degree from Georgia State University in 1975. She worked in day care as an Assistant Director and she owned a Montessori School in Norcross, and taught all ages, but truly loved working with individuals with mental challenges like her daughter Michelle who had Down Syndrome. She retired in 2006 in Barnesville, GA after teaching special ed. After Andrea moved out and welcomed Laura’s grandsons into the world, Dixwell, Laura and Michelle lived in Flovilla, Ga and Griffin, GA. Dixwell became ill in 2008 and she took care of him and Michelle until 2016 when he passed. They celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary 2 weeks before he passed. Andrea moved home with her husband Kyle and once again she traveled, seeing her great-grandson hold an alligator at the Miccosukee Indian Village near Miami, where she had gone to as a girl, seeing her grandson graduate Army Boot Camp at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, riding on a river boat (lifelong dream) down the Mississippi in New Orleans, and seeing family in Texas as well as some neat sites. From 2017 to 2023, her body went through many medical emergencies as Andrea and Kyle took care of her and Michelle. Entering assisted living in 2020 where Michelle resided was a new transition for her. She had been so independent and took care of others, that this frustrated her, but she never complained.
She had a heart for Jesus, and everyone saw His Spirit working through her. She attended many churches and was very active in servant roles with them in her life, but she loved the Moravian church and the Lutheran church the most for worship. She walked with God and talked with Him. She loved her grandsons and great-grandsons. She was very proud of them. Everyone who met her loved her and admired her dedication and perseverance. She was a Proverbs 31 woman.
Prov. 31:28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.
Laura was preceded in death by her parents: Samuel H. Linch (1969) and Faye A. Linch (1993); her brother: S. Albert Linch (2013); and her husband: Dixwell T. Burnham (May 16, 2016). She is survived by her daughter: E. Michelle Burnham of Newnan/Sharpsburg; her daughter: E. Andrea Miller and her husband Kyle, whom Laura claimed as her own son; her grandson: Seth A. Pace (Stella) of Winston-Salem, NC; her grandson: Andrew M. Pace (Nicholas); and great-grandsons: Austin and Gabriel Pace.
A memorial service for Mrs. Burnham will be held Saturday, June 17, 2023 at 2:00 pm at First Moravian Church – Georgia, located at 4950 Hugh Howell Road, Stone Mountain, Ga 30087. Memorial Contributions may be made to the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, or the Georgia Special Olympics.