Retired Maj. Gen. Delos Burks dies at 91

Published 6:58 pm Friday, July 11, 2008

Raised as a country boy in the Pine Grove Community, Delos Burks went on to become Major General for the Mississippi National Guard, a member of the legislature, a lawyer and a family man.

Burks died Tuesday, July 8, 2008 in Carriere.

Burks grew up poor. After graduation from the Industrial High School Burks became a teacher and basketball coach at the school, before joining the Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet in 1941. Burks participated in a number of battles in World War II flying rescue missions in the Pacific picking up downed pilots with pontoon planes.

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During his military career, Burks participated in 34 air combat missions where he received four decorations, three battle stars and was part of a unit that received the Presidential Unit Citation.

Granddaughter Angela Hill said he was also received the Magnolia Cross, a high Mississippi decoration.

Burks was a member of the Mississippi Air National Guard for many years before he retired with the rank of Major General. He attended law school and served as a member of the Mississippi Legislature in the House of Representatives from 1952 until 1960. In 1960 he was the assistant attorney general for Mississippi. In 1969, Biurks become the deputy attorney general until 1972. He was also partner in a local law practice.

In public Burks never met a stranger; he was always hospitable and respectful to everyone in the community, Hill said.

“If I could say anything about his personality, you could say he loved his country,” Hill said.

Rep. Mark Formby, whose grandmother is Burks’ second cousin, said he has known the man all his life. Described as being larger than life, Burks had a confident air about him, Formby said.

Formby said that Burks was always there to offer advice on legislative operations such as, “no one will remember what you did in the legislature but you.” Formby said that statement told him he should do things because they are right.

“We just thought he was a fine person,” said Maudine Harris, whose mother is first cousin to Burks.

He was good father and family man, said daughter Marsha Burks Megehee. Modest in light of his accomplishments, he would tell her, “I think I did okay for a country boy.”

“We were all very proud of his accomplishments,” Megehee said.

Burks’ children found their patriotism by attending speeches Burks would give in Jackson during Memorial Day and Veteran’s day events. That patriotism enabled Megehee to submit a piece of poetry that will be inscribed on a plaque and displayed on the Gold Star Mother’s America monument.

“I owe it all to my dad for raising us all to be patriotic,” Megehee said.

Funeral services are at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Pine Grove Baptist Church.

Burial will be in the Pine Grove Cemetery under the direction of McDonald Funeral Home.

Visitation is 6-9 Friday at the McDonald Funeral Home and also 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at Pine Grove Baptist Church.

Survivors include his children, Michael Hudson Burks, Marsha Burks McGehee and Gail Burks Pace; seven grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.