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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Susan Burgess' Condition Worsens, Dying From Cancer (PRAY)

Dozens Of Concerned Citizens Send Thanks To A Gravely Ill Susan Burgess

As word swept through Charlotte's political and civic circles Friday that Mayor Pro Tem Susan Burgess is gravely ill, a moving ritual was playing out on a website set up to report on her condition and let people share messages of support.

Burgess, an ardent Democrat, has spent almost 20 years in elected office here, and although she has friends and supporters in both parties it's no surprise Democrats were well-represented among the dozens offering love, care and tributes at

It was there that a note from a friend was posted Friday morning: "Sadly, she is now confined to her bed and is very, very weak and tired.... She is no longer able to have visitors. ... [Husband] Pat and all four of Susan's children are with her. ... Susan told me that she is at peace."

Burgess has been a powerful figure in Charlotte civic life, first as a school board member (1990-97) and then, in 1999 beginning the first of five terms as a Charlotte City Council member. Before her first election, in 1990, the Observer's editorial board in endorsing her wrote: "She is as bright and energetic as her campaign, with its yellow-pencil yard signs .... The effort she's put into becoming an informed candidate bodes well for her service on the board."

And so it did.

Burgess jumped in and took part all the way, never content to stand on the sidelines. And even those times when you might not agree with her, you could always admire her public-mindedness, exuberance and zest for service. She was diagnosed three years ago with colorectal cancer but continued in her council duties, even during chemotherapy. However, on May 10 she announced the cancer was spreading, and she entered hospice care.

The tributes have flooded in ever since:

"Susan, you were my first precinct chairperson - 1986! I learned grassroots advocacy from you and never stopped," wrote Carol Hardison, executive director of Crisis Assistance Ministry. "You told me about ... a woman I needed to meet named Caroline Myers [then head of Crisis Assistance]. Well the rest is history."

"Being an integral part of the Burgess campaigns over the years brought me extreme pleasure," wrote Anita McCorkle. "In each campaign, I always knew that I was associated with the best candidate/council member (and by far one of the best persons) that Charlotte could ever have in its service .... I was made better because of your shining example."

"Thank you so much for all that you've done for this community and for just being you," wrote education activist Araminta Johnston.

Indeed. Thank you, Susan Burgess. The city is richer for your service.

Charlotte City Council's Susan Burgess Confined To Bed In Hospice Care

Charlotte City Council member and Mayor Pro Tem Susan Burgess, who is under hospice care for cancer, is now confined to her bed and unable to have visitors.

The update on her condition was posted on the CaringBridge website, which keeps family and friends informed during serious health events.

For updates on Burgess, go to Her page contains journal entries, a photo gallery and guestbook.

Burgess, a 64-year-old Democrat, underwent surgery in February 2007 for colorectal cancer and later received chemotherapy treatments. She remained on city council and won re-election last November. She has said her cancer is spreading.

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Sources:, McClatchy Newspapers, Youtube, Google Maps

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