Thelma Burns Obituary, Death – Thelma D. Burns, who was active in the community for many years as a nurse, advocate, and volunteer, passed away recently. Her age was 85. Her family shared the news of her loss in a post on Facebook the next day. “It is with heaviness in our hearts that we must deliver the news of the demise of our mother, “they had written. “On November 18th, she passed away peacefully while her family stood by her side. She went to be with our God. The specifics of the arrangement will be communicated shortly.”
Within Boston’s Black community, Mrs. Burns was revered and respected as a figure of guidance and leadership. She beat cancer twice and went on to become a ferocious advocate for health fairness, devoting herself to the work of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Faith-based Cancer Disparities Network. She was a member of the Board of Directors for Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) for over 35 years, during which time she held several leadership positions such as Board Chair, Vice Chair, and Committee Chair.
She has lived in Dorchester for a very long time, and for more than 15 years she has served as the board president of the ABCD Dorchester Neighborhood Service Center. In addition, she headed or served on a large number of other community boards, some of which include the Mayor’s Senior Advisory Council, the Central Boston Elder Services, and the Roxbury YMCA.
She worked for the Belmont Public Schools as the METCO director for a total of 28 years before calling it quits in 2008.
Mrs. Burns attended Boston University to earn her bachelor’s degree in Education before moving on to Harvard University to earn her master’s degree in Education Administration. She has always been at the vanguard of efforts to promote social justice, and in 1968, she worked as a Robert F. Kennedy Fellow in Washington, District of Columbia. A building that ABCD owns and operates on Warren Street in Grove Hall was given the honor of being named after her in the year 2016.