Frank Word “Hank” Burdine, 74, of Chatham, unofficial ambassador, historian, and storyteller of his beloved Mississippi Delta, passed away peacefully on August 28, 2023, in Jackson. Services will be held on Thursday, August 31, 2023, at Saint. James Episcopal Church in Greenville at 1:00 p.m. with visitation from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Burial will follow at Lehrton Cemetery in Ruleville. Arrangements are under the direction of Boone Funeral Home, Greenville.
Born in Ruleville, Mississippi, on October 21, 1948, Hank was the son of James Harold Burdine and Baby Jane Rule Burdine. The third of five children, Hank explored the Delta and its landscape throughout his entire life.
The ultimate scholar, Hank, attended nearly every college in Mississippi. Due to his free spirit and sense of adventure, he left each of them with legions of friends that remained a large part of his life and made frequent appearances in his legendary stories.
Hank married the love of his life, Sallie Astor Burdine, in the summer of 1983. Together, they had 3 children and raised them between the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Southern Colorado, the Emerald Coast of the Florida Panhandle, and finally the Delta. His late wife, Sallie, always said, “Hank never really left the Delta, as he returned often to water his roots.”
Though sharing his love of the Delta would become his life’s work, officially he was a road builder, gentleman farmer, historian, and noteworthy writer. Hank was the author of countless articles for notable publications throughout the South and recently penned his own, Dust in The Road: Recollections of a Delta Boy in 2019.
He was a guest star on any Delta documentary or podcast sharing his uncanny knowledge and humor. His love of the outdoors and conversation led him to be highly involved with the history of the Mississippi River and modern-day hydrology. Hank served as an elected commissioner on the Mississippi Levee Board from 2010 until his death in 2023. In addition to his duties serving as a policy maker, Hank was a “go to” interview for anyone that wanted an enlightening perspective on the River, whether it was the New York Times or his frequent appearances on SuperTalk.
Preceded in death by his parents, his dear wife, Sallie, and his three siblings, Jim, Harold, and Scott.
Hank’s unwavering love of God steered him throughout his life and beyond. Passing this legacy down to his children. Hank is survived by his children Matthew James Hamilton Burdine of Memphis, TN, Milo Bennet Burdine of Pensacola, FL, and Jane Alden Burdine Dewhirst (David) of Shelby MS. He is also survived by his adoring granddaughters, Jane Rivers and Emery James Dewhirst of Shelby, and his sister, Jane Rule Burdine of Taylor.
“As the dawn breaks, so beholds the greatness of God. Blessed be to God from whom all blessings flow.”