William Robert Burr was born on December 23, 1935 in Cheraw, South Carolina. After high school Bro. Burr served in the United States Navy from 1957 to 1963. While in the Navy, he met his wife, Patsy.
A Trailways bus was leaving Fayetteville, North Carolina, on the afternoon of February 28, 1958. A beautiful young lady named Patsy Jean Pait was returning to her job in Raleigh after a weekend stay at her home in Bladenboro, North Carolina. She missed her originally scheduled bus and had to board an alternate bus.
A dashing Navy man was boarding this same bus and was due back in Norfolk, Virginia, after a weekend leave. Initially, it was her beauty that grabbed his attention, but soon after the road trip was underway, something else about this lovely lady kept his interest peaked. Seated on the rear seat of the bus was an elderly man. He watched as her fun-loving spirit tossed peanuts across the bus in an attempt to make a hole in one in the old gentleman's mouth.
The sailor could no longer resist her charms, and he introduced himself at the end of the bus ride. He asked, "Can I help you with your bags?" and he has been helping her every day since. They were wed in August of the same year.
Bro. Burr left the Navy shortly after he and Patsy were married and took a management position with the W.T. Grant's store in Greensboro, North Carolina. There were two ladies at his place of work who kept asking him to go to church.
One Sunday night, Bill and Patsy visited the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Pastor Bill Bennett preached a message that night from Revelation Chapter 6. Bro. Burr was under such conviction. He recalls gripping the pew with his hands during the invitation. Mrs. Burr reached her hand over and softly touched him with her little finger, and he headed for the altar!
He was saved and called to preach that night, November 20, 1960.
Bro. Burr followed his call to preach by surrendering to attend Bible college at Tennessee Temple from 1964 to 1968. When he finished there he immediately began doing the work that he had been called to do. Since that day, Bro. Burr's ministry has influenced countless lives for the cause of Christ. Between 1968 and 1979, he was the Pastor of four churches in Illinois, Virginia, and South Carolina.
In 1979, Bro. Burr was called to pastor Emmanuel Baptist Church in Beckley, West Virginia. While Bro. Burr pastored, he also held many revivals in and around the state. It was also during these years that Bro. Burr developed a tremendous singing voice. Mrs. Burr would play the piano and Bro. Burr would sing to God's glory!
In 2005 Bro. Burr's health began to decline. As the many miles of traveling changed to many hours at home due to sickness, he was encouraged by his family and church family. Bro. Burr had four children; Donna, Carol, Bill Burr Jr., and Mary Beth.
He also has had many grandchildren of which I am one. I hope that I can carry on his great legacy of preaching as I begin my ministry at Calvary Baptist Church in Emporia, Virginia.
On Sunday evening, October 28, 2007, Bro. Burr blessed the First Baptist Church with his beautiful singing voice one last time. With his family and his beloved bride, Patsy, by his side, God called him to his heavenly home on June 28, 2008.
Face to face, he has seen his Savior and has been shouting and praising His name ever since.
But by the grace of God, I am what I am. (1 Corinthians 15:10 NASB)