Community Mourns the Passing of Angela Burris

Angela Burris, a political activist who worked closely with many of the region’s top elected officials, passed away on Saturday, June 1, 2024.

Born on Feb. 24, 1951, and raised in Highland Park, Angela was introduced to a career in government through her childhood friend, former Wayne County Commission Chairman Arthur Blackwell. Angela, who was widely known by her nickname Angie, spent her career in administrative jobs in the Wayne County Department of Community Affairs and as a contractor for the City of Detroit. During her time as a Wayne County employee, she served as the administrative assistant to Emma Bell, eventually becoming Ms. Bell’s closest friend and most trusted companion. Angela’s indefatigable work ethic and commitment to excellence made her a highly valued colleague.

Those qualities also served her well as a volunteer for the 13th and 14th Congressional District Democratic Organizations. and for the campaigns of many prominent elected officials. The many politicians who benefited from Angie’s volunteer service include Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy, Wayne County Sheriff Raphael Washington, former Michigan State Representative Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, Wayne County Commissioner Tim Killeen, former Detroit City Council President Saunteel Jenkins, 36th District Court Judge Alicia Jones Coleman, Wayne County Probate Court Judge David Perkins, retired 36th District Court Judges Nancy Blount and Joe Baltimore and the late 36th District Court Judge B. Pennie Millender and Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Karen Fort Hood. Fellow political activists describe Angie as a stellar model of volunteerism, an unconditional friend and confidante like no other.

Many prominent local leaders relied upon Angie for companionship and assistance. She would accompany them to doctor’s appointments, drive them to meetings, and handle the details of their private lives to allow them to focus their energy on public service. She was content to serve in the background, but her service made a difference.

Angie’s taciturn and sometimes stern persona belied a tender and giving heart. She found meaning and purpose in serving elders as an employee of the City of Detroit’s Senior Citizens Commission.  She had a special place in her heart for children. She was an honorary auntie to the children of many prominent Detroiters, driving them to school and appointments and lavishing them with affection. It was in her relationships with children that her warmth and kindness was made most visible. Angie didn’t smile often. You had to earn a smile from her. But when she did smile, she did so with her whole heart.

Cutter’s Bar and Grill in Eastern Market is a place where Angie’s smile often appeared. Both during her short stint as a bar employee and her long tenure as a patron, she made lasting memories and formed important friendships at Cutter’s.

Left to celebrate her memory are the Burris Family, her political many friends, relatives, work colleagues and fellow political activists who will never forget her.

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