Melba Burnette Cross

Published 11:40 am Thursday, September 17, 2015

Melba Burnette Cross, 92, took the journey to her eternal home, Saturday, September 12, 2015. Born June 13, 1923, in Cold Harbor, formerly of Hanover County, she was preceded in death by her parents, Joseph Addicus Burnette and Lillian Mason Peace, and her beloved, husband, Atwill Burruss “A.B.” Cross, Jr. of 60 years. They both were preceded in death by their youngest son, Atwill Burruss “Barry” Cross III. She was one of eight children, and was the last sibling to pass.

She was an acdtive member of Mechanicsville Christian Center, a Sunday School teacher for over 50 years, and a lay preacher in her early years at Lebanon Methodist Church at Peaks, VA. She, along with A.B., volunteered for the Ashcake Rescue Squad for a combined 26 years, she as a dispatcher and EMT and he as a driver.

Melba was a homemaker, an avid gardener, who had the ability to bring any dying plant to life; a grower of American and English boxwoods, which she loved so much she thought she could never sell them for much money. Knitting and crocheting were also other passions that she enjoyed.

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One delight of her life was restoring a pre-civil war home at Peaks, but more importantly, was building a family whom she encouraged to be Christian, hardworking, and responsible individuals.

Melba and A.B. both helped and continually supported New Life for Youth for “at risk” young men, founded by Victor Torres.

She lived a life of kindness, always with a smile on her face and the joy of the Lord in her heart. In recent years at The Woodland in Farmville, she could be found reading her Bible and Dr. Seuss books, and singing her favorite hymns, always ending with hands held high in her wheelchair saying “Hallelujah!”

She was well loved and will be missed by many on this side, but greeted in love by many in Heaven. She is survived by a son, John Dennis Cross and wife, Tereasa of Tallahassee, FL, and daughter, Camilla Cross Tinnell and husband, Dr. Wayne H. Tinnell of Farmville.

She was known affectionately as “Gaga” to her eight grandchildren, Kimberly Cross Bailey (Bill), Kristine Cross Butler (Taylor), John Dennis Cross Jr. (Angela), Dr. Sheri Tinnell Dorsam (Glenn), Martha Cross Walker (Todd), Sarah Elizabeth Cross, Dawn Kristen Tinnell, and Richard Panebianco; and nine great-grandchildren, and a host of other relatives and friends.

Visitation was held on Wednesday, September 16, at Atlee Chapel of Woody Funeral Home, followed by a private service and burial at Signal Hill Memorial Cemetery.

The family wishes to thank The Woodland and Dr. Edward Gordon for their personal and loving care in Melba’s final three years. 

Contributions may be made to New Life for Youth, founded in 1971, by Victor and Carmen Torres, 1500 Log Cabin Road, Beaverdam, VA 23015.

A former pastor said, “I call A.B. and Melba patriarchs because as godly people, they have pointed the way to trust and faith, stewardship, and service.”