The Rev. Robert Burchyett

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Rev. Robert Lewis Burchyett, 91, of West Memphis, Ark., formerly of Cairo and McClure, Ill., passed away at 4:20 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31, 2007, at the Broadway Health Center in West Memphis. He died peacefully, surrounded by his family.

He was born March 15, 1916, in rural McClure, youngest child of the late Calvin and Erma (Baker) Burchyett.

Bob attended McClure High School and often told family members of when he walked Lawana Opal (Colyer) home from school one day and decided he was going to marry her. He married his high school sweetheart Nov. 10, 1934. She died Jan. 19, 1989.

Bob gave his heart to the Lord in 1944 at the little Pentecostal Church in McClure during the ministry of the late Rev. Bill and Edith Wilson, whose ministry greatly influenced his life. In 1954, Bob and Lawana were led by the Lord to Cairo, and along with their three daughters established the Cairo United Pentecostal Church, where he pastored until his retirement in 2000. During his tenure as pastor in Cairo, he also served for 12 years as Presbyter of Section 1 of United Pentecostal Church International. Strong influences in his life at that time were the Rev. Charles McKinnies and the Rev. Ernest Brithaupt.

"Bro. Burchyett," as he was affectionately known, had a love for people and enjoyed visiting with them. He loved to tell of the miracles in his life in building the church in Cairo. He enjoyed his many trips to Ryan's with his family as well as many of his church family. He enjoyed flowers and when he was able he enjoyed raising flowers. Bob and his helpmate of 55 years truly enjoyed serving the Lord and in doing so well served the people. "Uncle Robert," as Bob was known to many family members, had a close relationship with his many nieces and nephews. Some of those have passed away.

Survivors include two daughters and a son-in-law, Barbara Anna and Joe Smith and Erma Lynn Burchyett of West Memphis, Ark.; five grandchildren, Bobby (Nancy) Hollingsworth, Ron (Tina) Hollingsworth, Deborah Welch, Gary (Renee) Smith and Steve (Lorrie) Smith; 11 great-grandchildren, three great-great-grandchildren; son-in-law Shannon Hollingsworth of Villa Ridge, Ill.; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Bro. Bob was preceded in death by his daughter, Shelby Darlene Hollingsworth, with whom he lived until her death March 5, 2006; infant son William Lewis; infant daughter Carolyn Sue; two sisters, Thelma Moore and Minnie Lovell; two brothers, Raymond and Audrey Burchyett; and in-laws John and Lena (Mainer) Colyer.

Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Cairo Pentecostal Church in Cairo.

A celebration of Bro. Bob Burchyett's life will be held at noon Thursday, Jan. 3, 2008, in the church he, his wife and three daughters founded some 54 years ago.

Bro. Bobby McCool will officiate, assisted by Bro. Charles McKinnies, Bro. Dan McKinnies, Bro. Bob McCool Sr. and Bro. Stephen Smith.

Burial will follow in the Lindsey Cemetery in rural McClure.

Jones Funeral Home of Villa Ridge is in charge of the arrangements.