Community in ‘shock and at an utter loss’ following Burrell’s death

Published 12:39 pm Monday, July 6, 2020

Heidi Burrell, director of resource development at the United Way of West Central Mississippi, died Sunday. She was 59.

“We are in shock and at an utter loss. We always call ourselves the United Way family because that is what we are and we are very much devastated and heartbroken,” United Way executive director Michele Connelly said, after learning of Burrell’s death on Monday.

Connelly described Burrell, who was a resident of the Hermanville community, a diligent, dedicated advocate for her community.

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“In her position, she touched the lives of thousands of people,” Connelly said. “Heidi was extremely passionate about her family, her church, her community, and about United Way. She was a hard worker and very focused. She did so much to organize us. I guess the best way to say it is she would keep us all very much so in line.”

During her more than six years with the United Way of West Central Mississippi, in addition to being devoted to the staff, Connelly said, Burrell coordinated the campaign cabinet, the community investment and the partner agencies.

“(Heidi) always took great pride in the relationships she built in our community. She saw them as true relationships that could only strengthen the community as a whole,” Connelly said. “Heidi would always tell people that she had the best job ever and that she was the luckiest one because of the relationships she got to build with so many people.”

Cindy McCarley, who is the executive director of the Good Shepherd Community Center, one of the United Way’s partner agencies, said she was saddened to learn of Burrell’s death.

“I can’t even express what Heidi meant to me,” McCarley said. “Heidi is one of the greatest cheerleaders the United Way has ever had. I mean she loved the United Way and loving people. She was the best.

In an email sent to members of the Vicksburg Kiwanis Club, of which Burrell was a member, fellow Kiwanian Jennifer Grey wrote, “Heidi was an outstanding person as she dedicated her life to service for others.”

In an email to members of the United Way’s Board of Directors, Connelley said, “Heidi was always very committed to her family, her church, her United Way and her community. We are at a loss of words. Please keep Heidi’s family and the United Way staff in your thoughts and prayers, as this will be a huge loss to us.”

A private family graveside funeral service will be held Friday. Visitation will be held Friday from 1 to 5 p.m. at Thompson Funeral Home, 612 Coffee St. in Port Gibson. Only five individuals will be allowed in the room at a time. Masks will be required at all times.

Flowers can be sent to the funeral home. A Go Fund Me account has been set up and funds collected will be donated to the United Way of West Central Mississippi and will be used as a memorial on behalf of Burrell.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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