Rilda Joyce (Cunningham) Burlew was born on November 18, 1947, to Rilda Mae (Tipton) and William Cunningham, Sr., in Hamilton, OH. She was the fifth child of twelve children. She was preceded in death by her mother, Rilda Mae and father, William; her husband, Cecil Burlew; and two brothers: William, Jr., and Thomas (TC) Cunningham.
She attended Harrison Elementary, Roosevelt Junior High, and graduated from Taft Senior High School, Hamilton, OH. She furthered her education by attending The University of Cincinnati, earning a B.S. in Education and a Masters of Education from Xavier University. She dedicated her professional life to teaching; she started her career in Cincinnati Public Schools and retired from Great Oaks.
Rilda Joyce dedicated her life to the Lord in the early 1980s. She was one of the founding members of the Soul-Winning Church of God, where she labored tirelessly for as long as she could physically endure. Without fail, Sis. Joyce continued to support the church and served with excellence, diligence and consistency in the capacities of Sunday School teacher, Secretary, Finance Committee, Seniors’ Prayer Ministry, the Soul Sisters Women’s Ministry and in various other capacities. Sis. Joyce also supported the Cincinnati District Church of God as Secretary for numerous years. She was a mighty prayer warrior and was known for always praying for and encouraging the Saints with words of wisdom and love. One of her favorite words of encouragement was ‘don’t fret.’ Sis. Joyce loved and was extremely faithful to God, her family, and the body of Christ. Her ‘legacy of love’ lives on forever and will continuously shine bright in the hearts of everyone she touched.
Rilda Joyce loved her family fiercely, and her integrity was witnessed by all who knew her. She was a rarity: she lived by the principles she espoused. She visited the sick, gave to the needy, accepted without conditions, and provided wise counsel to all those she encountered. No one had a sweet tooth like Rilda, but her real sweetness was how she embraced her family without judgment, was ready with a kind word of encouragement, and whose sense of humor and gentle hands helped ease the deepest hurts.
She leaves to cherish her memory: her son, Jason, her daughter, Jocelyn, two grandsons, Davon and Jalen; four brothers: Lester Luke, Cincinnati, OH; Kenneth Van (Cynthia), Fuquay Varina, NC; Marc Anthony (Lena), Tallahassee, FL; and David Alan (Marcia), Fairfield, OH; and five sisters: Constance Ann, Odenton, MD; Melodye (Naradain), Mansfield, OH; Anna Ruth, Cary, NC; Carolon, Cincinnati, OH; and Mollie Marie, Springdale, OH; and a host of nieces, nephews, and other loving relatives and friends. Our beloved Rilda Joyce will forever be missed.
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