Two ceremonies are planned in March to memorialize a former mayor of Stone Mountain who died last year.
Charles “Chuck” Burris, the first African-American mayor of Stone Mountain, passed away in Annapolis, Md., on Feb. 12, 2009, after complications from the amyloidosis, a rare disease. He was 57.
A celebration of life ceremony for Burris will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on March 5, at the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum Auditorium, 441 Freedom Parkway in Atlanta. Burris’ fraternity brothers, Alpha Pi Alpha, will also incorporate a “final rite of passage” into the ceremony.
An additional recognition will be held at noon on March 6 at the Freedom Bell in the city of Stone Mountain, near the city hall complex at 922 Main St. It was during Burris’ administration the bell was erected.
According to a family friend, Burris’ wife, Marcia Baird Burris, had planned to hold the services sooner, however, her mother died within weeks of her husband’s passing.
A native of New Orleans, Charles Burris served as mayor of Stone Mountain from 1997 until 2001. After his term ended, he became executive director of the Southern Regional Council. He later worked at Lockheed Martin as a senior IT manager during which time he served a brief stint as a member of the DeKalb County School System board.
He relocated to Maryland in 2007 to take a management position with Lockheed Martin in Baltimore after his wife accepted a position with Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum.
Burris also served on the Stone Mountain City Council from 1991 to 1996, and maintained numerous governmental positions, including research and crime analyst for the city of Atlanta. He also worked in the Office of the Secretary of State for Georgia during Max Cleland’s tenure.
After graduating at age 16 from Peabody High School in Louisiana, Burris was admitted to Morehouse College in 1967 as a Merrill Scholar, and remained active in politics throughout his academic years. He worked on the vice mayoral campaign of Maynard Jackson, as well as Ambassador Andrew Young’s congressional campaign.