Floral 30

Helen L. Burney

December 4, 1924 ~ March 24, 2021 (age 96)


Helen Louise Burney

Sunrise December 4, 1924

Sunset March 24, 2021


Helen Louise Jefferson was preceded in death by her parents Anna Lou Jefferson and Fred Harrison Jefferson. The oldest of seven children Helen was preceded in death by her siblings Edna Townsend, Fred Jefferson, and Bertha Halloway.  Helen leaves behind brothers Thomas Jefferson, William (Gloria) Jefferson,and Daniel Jefferson.


As a young woman Helen had big dreams to become an actress in New York City; instead, Helen pursued studies at North Carolina A&T University.  Soon after she met and married the love of her life, Mitchell Lee Burney, who has preceded her death. Together they raised five children, Theresa Lee, Rosalind Geredine,  Mitchell Burney Jr. (Amy), Calvin Burney (Dawn), and Michelle Simmons (Andre).  Helen was a devoted wife, mother, and career woman.


Helen was a pioneer woman, she was one of the first black American women to work at Ohio Bell, currently known as AT&T.  She started as an elevator operator and was continuously promoted until she reached management level.  Helen was an employee of Ohio Bell for 25 years before retiring. 


Helen was a devout Catholic.  She was an active member of Christ The King Church where she served as Lector reciting scripture to the church.  In 1989 she was commissioned as a special minister of Holy Communion.  As a Eucharistic Minister she served communion to the community in need including residents at McGregor before she became a resident.


Helen was an elected board member of the Catholic Women's Guild.


Helen came out of retirement after volunteering as a tutor in the public school system.  She was recognized by the East Cleveland Board of Education for her continuous support of children as they develop reading skills. 


She was an avid volunteer always giving to the community through nonprofit organizations like St. Vincent DePaul, Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Food banks, and other organizations in need.


Helen enjoyed bowling and she belonged to a woman's bowling league for several years.


Helen was a seasoned traveler, she was a member of a travel club, she cruised the seas and traveled the world.


Helen’s passion was her family and she loved to host the best family gatherings that became holiday tradition.  She created an ambiance in her home that would draw family, friends and neighbors.  She was known for her culinary skills: using recipes from scratch and her exquisite desserts like her famous carrot cake and peach cobbler.  Delicious smells and the sound of jazz and blues filled the air with love and soul.  Helen created memories for her loved ones that will be cherished forever.


Helen leaves behind 15 grandchildren, Bobby Craig, Earl Lee, Nia Geredine, Cordeyah Lee, Phonecia Burney, Bettena Burney, Brian Simmons, Ashley Simmons, Erika Simmons, Lacie Hudson, Dominique Burney, Michael Simmons, Christopher Simmons, Alexa Burney, and Calvin Burney Jr.  Helen had 30 great and great great grandchildren, many nieces nephews and family that she loved and adored.


Helen would say to us all, “God Loves You and So Do I”


May the road rise

To meet you.

May the wind be always

At your back.


May the sun shine warm

Upon your face,

The rain falls softly

Upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you

In the palm

Of His hand.

-Irish Blessing

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Helen L. Burney, please visit our floral store.


Public Viewing
March 30, 2021

12:00 PM to 4:45 PM
89th Chapel
2165 East 89th Street
Cleveland, OH 44106

March 31, 2021

10:30 AM to 11:00 AM
Communion of Saints
2175 Coventry Rd.
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118

Funeral Mass
March 31, 2021

11:00 AM
Communion of Saints
2175 Coventry Rd.
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118

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