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Husband, wife remembered and celebrated at funeral service

Ferral Burage and Sheila May Burage loved, lived and died together.

The couple were fatally shot May 28 during a killing spree that left seven family members and one Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputy dead.

It was a hot, steamy afternoon as families and friends gathered Sunday in the Alexander Jr. High auditorium to celebrate and remember the lives of two people that touched so many. As the service began, rain began to pour outside as it did during the funeral Saturday for 17-year-old Jordan Blackwell and 11-year-old Austin Edwards, cousins who were slain a few hours before the Burages.

Keith Edwards opened the service with the song “I Can Only Imagine.” The hundreds packed into the auditorium stood still and many shed tears during Edwards’ powerful performance.

“This is a celebration,” Edwards said. “How many of you can only imagine what they are seeing right now?”

Rev. Victor Mackabee followed Edwards with an Old Testament reading from Psalms 91. After Mackabee finished, Pastor Ronnie Mackabee provided a New Testament reading from chapter 4 of I Thessalonians.

After readings from scripture, another song was performed. “He’s Able,” was sung and those in attendance stood up, clapped and sang along. It truly felt like a celebration of life.

A powerful point in the ceremony came from Rev. Shon Blackwell, whose son was buried the day before. He gave the Burage family words of encouragement.

“All the devil did was bring these families together,” Blackwell shouted and the crowd gave him a standing ovation. ”As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Several tributes were made in honor of the husband and wife.

Marsha Stephenson, a friend of Shelia Burage, credited the woman for saving her life.

“My husband got killed a couple of years ago and she helped me through it,” Stephenson said. “Because of her I’m still here. I pray that she will give my husband a hug for me in heaven.”

Shelia left behind three children, Christiana May Kelly, Tiara Williams and Deion Williams.

“She was a wonderful woman, a caring woman, a strong woman and most importantly a Christian woman,” said Kelly. “She loved God more than anything else in this world. Her answer to everything was to pray about it. She was my best friend. She meant so much to me. I know she’s looking down on us. My job is to try and take care of my family now.”

Tiara Williams said, “She was my best friend. She always told us to pray about everything. I remember one time, I called my mom and told her I had a headache and she just told me to pray about it.”

The crowd laughed, many giving an understanding nod.

Deion Williams thanked everyone for all of their care and concern.

The tributes continued as Bobby Jackson, a friend of Ferral Burage, talked about what he meant to him.

“Shelia and Ferral were both my friends,” said Jackson. “I know he’s with his mama in heaven.”

“Everyone knows Ferral by his smile and laugh,” said Ricky Clark, a co-worker of Burage’s at Reed’s Metals. “He was such a good guy and hard worker. I remember the last thing I told him, ‘I’ll see you Monday’ as Ferral left work. He will be missed.”

Ferrel Burage’s brother Roy Burage Sr. talked about hearing his voice for the last time.

“I talked to him Saturday night and wake up the next day to a terrible phone call,” he said.

With tears streaming down his face, he thanked everyone for the tremendous support.

Marezka Brown remembered her father.

“I took a lot from my daddy. He said he was proud of me,” she said. “It’s hard being an only child and losing your daddy. He was my best friend.”

For Kelly, losing her stepfather has been equally as painful.

“He was just like my mom. He was a wonderful man,” Kelly said. “He took my mother and her three children and treated us like we were his own.”

Her favorite memory of him was on Father’s Day last year.

“My biological father passed in 2006 of lung cancer,” said Kelly. “I was just having a bad day that day. He called me and told me that I didn’t have to feel the way I did because I did have a father. He told me that he would be my father even though he’s not my biological father. He said he would always be there for me. He was my father and I will just never forget that day. Me and my sisters loved him like he was our real dad. He took care of us.”

The Burages married in 2009 and became a blended family with three girls and two boys. Sheila Burage owned D’Vine Destiny, where her passion was design. Ferral Burage loved helping others and spending time with his family. He enjoyed working in his yard and liked to work on cars and attend car shows.

Funeral services for Barbara May Mitchell, Brenda May and Toccara May will be Monday at 2 p.m. at Alexander Jr. High.