One for the History Books | Local historian known for preserving Albertville’s past dies | Free sharing

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Dennis Burgess, a longtime Albertville historian, is remembered for his tireless work in preserving the town’s history.

Burgess died Tuesday, March 29, 2022 at Shepherd’s Cove Hospice. He was 62 years old.

Danny Maltbie, president of the Albertville museum, said Burgess was instrumental in acquiring the former Little Branch Early Baptist Church building where the museum was first established in 2010 on East Main Street.

“He was pretty much responsible for the city getting this church building,” Maltbie said. “A lot of the stuff inside was stuff he had collected and information he had collected over the years.”

Maltbie, like many others, agreed that Burgess knew more about Albertville than anyone.

“Dennis had an encyclopedic knowledge of Albertville that was an invaluable resource to me and others at the paper,” said David Clemons, former editor of The journalist.

“I think he may have understood my family tree better than I did.

“Albertville loses a tremendous source of its institutional history with Dennis.”

Early beginnings

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 is a day that will forever be etched in American history. For Burgess, this was the beginning of his love of bygone times.

Just four years old at the time, Burgess said he remembered snippets of television news.

He also remembered the assassination of Robert Kennedy in 1968 when Burgess was nine years old.

Since those events, the story was “all I’ve ever known,” Burgess said in a previous interview.

He grew up in the Martling community of Albertville and his parents cultivated his desire to commemorate the past. He carried this love of history into adulthood, studying and writing about Albertville’s history for the city’s centennial celebration in 1991.

“We had a lot of discussions and events on Sunday relating to the museum,” Maltbie said. “Dennis was our keynote speaker. We will miss him.

Burgess once said that he believed history had taken precedence over math and English in public schools. He said he wanted to see elementary and middle schools in Albertville teach a two-week course on local history. He said the best way to engage students was to tell stories rather than focus on dates.

Burgess has worked tirelessly for many years to preserve and transmit Albertville’s history to citizens. He published “Images of America: Albertville”. The picture book was originally published in 2006 and can still be purchased online through Amazon.com, and it has compiled a binder of stories, images, and newspaper clippings that chronicle the city’s past. He had hoped to one day publish this last collection in book form.

Additionally, he took groups on walking tours of Memory Hill Cemetery, where he pointed out various pre-Civil War-era graves and shared the stories of those buried there.

Burgess was chairman of the Albertville Historical Commission and of the museum board, which is appointed by the city council. He was also president of the Albertville Historical Society.

Family and friends

Burgess is survived by his wife, Pam; sisters, Bonnie Lacy (Edward) and Betty Pearce; sister-in-law, Brenda Womack (Ray); brother, Johnny Burgess (Myra); special aunt, Elizabeth “Sissy” Burgess; and godchildren, Amanda Sellers, Whitney Richards and Stephen McClendon.

Services will be held today, April 2, at 5 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Albertville with Brothers Chris Johnson, Lynn Darnell and Denny McClendon officiating. Visitation will be from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the church. Adams Brown Service Funeral Home assisted the family.

“Most of my childhood memories were of not only my parents, but also my godparents,” said Stephen McClendon, Burgess’ godson.

“We have been fortunate to share a special bond with them over the years.

“‘Uncle Den'” has always made us laugh. He took every opportunity to prank or scare us (usually by pulling his teeth).

“He never stopped telling us how proud he was of us or how much he loved us. He was full of knowledge and loved to share any piece of history whenever he had the chance. occasion. The world was a brighter place with him.

“He will be greatly missed, but we all rejoice that he is now fully alive with Jesus and no longer burdened with that old, worn body.”

Maltbie said he will miss Burgess dearly, as will many in and around town.

“Dennis wasn’t just a historian, he was good people,” Maltbie said.

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