Thousands gather to celebrate the life of Kingstree Women’s basketball coach

Thousands gather to celebrate the life of Kingstree Women's basketball coach (Image 1)

KINGSTREE, S.C.— “Never in my wildest dreams, could I have ever imagined this outpour of support.  Kobe[my brother] called her Beyonce,” said Marcus “Rico” Burgess, as he looked at the thousands of people that came out to celebrate his wife's life on Sunday.  “I don't think Beyonce has anything on this.”

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Nearly 3000 people came out to the funeral service for Sonya Burgess on Sunday afternoon, but they were not there to say goodbye or mourn her loss, they were there to celebrate her life.

“Sonya is in heaven now.  And we are here at her ‘Homegoing'; this is not a time to grieve her death, but rather a time to celebrate her life.  Let us not ever forget Sonya,” said Alice Tisdale, First Lady of Claflin University, where Burgess graduated and was student body president during her senior year.

And celebrate they did; throughout the ceremony, they sang songs of praise, including Sonya's personal favorite song sung by her three siblings.  Friends, family members, and colleagues shared stories about the wonderful memories they have of Sonya- about how she was always the life of the party, how she was a ‘supermom', and how she had lived a complete life.

“It was 39 filled years, everything she did, she made a heart at it,” said a childhood friend of Sonya's.  “She wasn't just an underachiever, but an overachiever, she loved her family, her friends, her kids…everyone.  And we had a saying, if Sonya had a problem with you, then you needed to check yourself.”

A representative from Estill high school also announced that they would be retiring Sonya's jersey number from when she was a student athlete at the school.  And both the Williamsburg School District and the South Carolina State Senate presented Sonya's husband, Marcus with resolutions honoring her memory; which will never be forgotten.

“To daddy and momma Burgess, you know you broke the mold when you made her; you brokeit.  There's no duplicate,” said Freya Sullivan, who attended Claflin with Sonya.  “We thank you for lending her to us, we thank you for the seed you sown into us.  This is a harvest, because when you sow a good seed, you get a good harvest; and look around you, this is a harvest.”

The Williamsburg School District also announced that the Kingstree High School gymnasium will be renamed in honor of Sonya and that from now on February 24, will be a day of remembrance for Sonya.

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