Alexander Mitchell Burford, Jr. – Obituary

By  | March 8, 2017 | Filed under: Elkins Funeral Home, Obituaries

Dr. Alexander Mitchell Burford, Jr. age 87 of Florence  passed away on Tuesday, March 7, 2017.  Visitation will be held from 9:00 A.M. till 10:00 A.M. on Thursday, March 9, 2017 at Elkins Funeral Home of Florence with services in the chapel to follow at 10:00 A.M.  Burial will be at Tri-CitiesMemorial Gardens.

He was born on March 21, 1929 in Memphis, Tennessee and spent his early years there.  While living in Memphis, he attended the Union Avenue churchof Christ and was baptized there.   He and his family moved to Florence,Alabama in the 1940’s, where he graduated from Coffee High School in 1948.  He enlisted at the age of 20 in the United States Navy during the Korean conflict and served as a Medical Corpsman in Maryland.  It was this experience in the Navy that inspired him to later study medicine.  Following military service, Mr. Burford completed an undergraduate degree in Biology at the Florence State Teacher’s College. (Now the (UNA) University of North Alabama) and went on to study medicine at the University of Tennessee’sCollege of Medicine in Memphis, Tennessee.  He completed his residency at the University Hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee and then returned to the Medical school in Memphis where he specialized in the field of Pathology.

Dr. Burford was licensed to practice medicine by the State of Alabama and was employed by Eliza Coffee Memorial (ECM) Hospital that year.   He worked as a Pathologist at ECM for 36 years, rising to the position of Chief Pathologist before retiring in 1996.

Dr. Burford displayed a passion for music and the arts throughout his life, as he played in the band while attending UNA.  He played trombone in a brass band for many years and they played at many local events throughout the years.  He generously supported the music program at Mars Hill BibleSchool.

Dr. Burford was an avid sportsman, conservationist, and outdoorsman.  He loved canoeing, fishing, birdwatching, hiking and hunting. He was a member of the National Rifle Association and a supporter of the American Chestnut Foundation.

Dr. Burford stayed active in retirement as he volunteered with the Friends of the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library for many years.  He enjoyed tracing his family’s genealogy and organized family reunions for many years.  He participated in UNA’s Institute for Learning in Retirement as both a student and an instructor, where he enjoyed teaching courses in the areas of world history and public health.   He was a strong advocate of the development UNA’s science programs.

Throughout his life, Dr. Burford supported many Christian causes, includingMars Hill Bible School.  In recent years, he resided at Mitchell HollingsworthNursing & Rehabilitation Center and attended church of Christ services there.

Dr. Burford is predeceased by his parents, Mr. Alexander Mitchell Burford, Sr., and Mrs. Mary Tittle Burford and his sister, Miss Jean Belle Burford.  He is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Karma Kay Burford Arnold of Houston, TXand her husband, Mr. David Arnold, along with many family members and friends.


Elkins Funeral Home of Florence would like to invite you to leave condolences online at

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