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Celebration of Life Services to be Held for Former Westchester Resident, Attorney Melvin Burruss

Celebration of Life Services to be Held in Virginia and Branford, CT

Family and friends will be Celebrating the Life of Melvin A. Burruss in Virginia at the VIEWING on Saturday, October 29, 2022, from 11:00AM to 4:00PM at the J.F. Bell Funeral Home, Inc., 108 6th Street NW, in Charlottesville, VA 22903; and A HOME GOING SERVICE on Sunday, October 30, 2022, at 1:00 PM at Foster Creek Baptist Church, 4028 E. Jack Jouett Road, in Louisa, VA 23093.

In Branford, Connecticut, Family and Friends will celebrate Mel’s life at a VIEWING on Tuesday, November 8, 2022, from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM at W.S. Clancy Memorial Funeral Home, 244 N. Main Street, Branford, CT 06405.

A HOME GOING SERVICE will be held on Wednesday, November 9, 2022 at 1:00 PM at St. Stephens AME Zion Church, 31 Rogers Street in Branford, CT.. Internment at Branford Center Cemetary in Branford, CT.

REPASS at St. Stephens AME Zion Church in Branford, CT.


It is impossible to summarize the life journey of Melvin Alexander Burruss. He was a man that loved his family. He valued education and community. He was a leader, mentor, counselor, and fighter. He loved to dance and enjoy life. All that he embodied is reflected in his grandchildren who he loved more than anything and poured into all his love.

Melvin was born to Melvin and Anna (nee Griffin) Burruss on February 13, 1946, in Branford, Connecticut. Melvin’s early life was filled with sports. He was an accomplished high school athlete in basketball and football where he received numerous recognitions. He graduated from Branford High School on June 18, 1964. After high school, Melvin joined the Navy in 1965. When asked by his daughter Timnetra why he joined the Navy, Melvin replied that the line was shorter and, therefore, he believed he would have more opportunities to advance. This mindset embodied Melvin Burruss…work hard, but smart. He served until 1971. During his time in the Navy, he completed his basic training at the Naval Training Center at Great Lakes, IL, completed additional training in electrical engineering, and studied at the radar school at the Naval Air station in Memphis.

Education was important to Melvin. He instilled in his children that an education was invaluable and counseled his daughter, Trisha, that an education was something that no one could take away from you. Melvin earned his Bachelor of Science in accounting from University of California at Berkeley (1973). He received the Ford Foundation Scholarship. He earned his Master of Business Administration in finance from Stanford University School of Business (1975). While at Stanford, he received a two-year grant through the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management. Additionally, Melvin earned his Juris Doctor from Florida State University College of Law (1993).

Melvin loved the law. Although he entered the profession later in life, his vast experience working for large companies that specialized in sales, financial services, and real estate gave Melvin a unique perspective on most issues. He was a trusted counselor and enjoyed serving within the legal community. He enjoyed discussing legal issues with his colleagues and daughters. He was a critical thinker who enjoyed engaging in the hard conversations to drive transformative change. He could engage in conversations on almost anything from local community issues, politics, finance, and the stock market. He always made time for the small conversations, such as almost daily conversations with his children or grandchildren. He stayed connected to those he loved through phone calls, FaceTime, and visits. He was someone you could depend on to be there.

Melvin was a member of numerous organizations and boards, and served in a variety of leadership positions. Some of those organizations include: Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., African-American Men of Westchester (served as president for more than twelve years), African-American Chamber of Commerce of Westchester, Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce, Louisa County Public School Superintendent Advisory Board; Louisa County NAACP, Directors of Louisa County Broadband Authority, New Hill Corporation (served as Board Chair), Louisa County Historical Society; Louisa VFW post 8947, Charlottesville Bar Association, Louisa County Democratic Party, The Brothers in Charlottesville and the State Bar of Virginia. As the Executive Producer and host of The Neighborhood Law Center, a program that aired on Charlottesville’s Community Access Channel 12, he addressed legal issues impacting the community.

Melvin also received numerous awards recognizing his commitment to the community and his willingness to give his time. Some of those awards, include: Omicron Iota Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Uplift Award (2006); Black Democrats of Westchester Judge Thurgood Marshall Award (2013); Who’s Who (2014).

Melvin’s life journey ended October 18, 2022. He is survived by Diana, his wife of twenty-seven years, his daughters Trisha and Timnetra, his son Charles, his stepchildren, Evan and Lorena Lowery, and his surrogate son, Alfred Wilson. His son, Gregory, preceded him in death. He is survived by his brother, James, his sister, Beverly, his grandchildren, Jordan, Brooklyn, Lexie, Chelsea, Nicholas and Josiah, his great grandchildren Charlie and Nikson, his nieces Fontaine and Anna, his nephews Albert and Dwight, and all that loved him.

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