Auntine Burney, a longtime Sacramento resident and Del Paso Heights community organizer, died July 1 after a recent stroke, her family said. She was 86.
Mrs. Burney was a stalwart advocate for children and families since she settled in Del Paso Heights during the 1950s. She was an early member of the Good Neighbors Club, a group of residents who reached out to help African American families who moved to Sacramento from the South after World War II. She later served on the Del Paso Heights Redevelopment Advisory Committee.
She was a board member of the Del Paso Elementary School District and started a study center for students at Del Paso Heights Elementary School. She organized anti-drug groups and rallies and opened her home to neighborhood youngsters when their parents were away.
"If she saw something that needed to be done, she'd talk to people at church or in the community and get them to go to meetings," said her daughter, Joyce Askia. "She believed you had to stand and speak up for yourself."
Mrs. Burney, who served on the board of the Good Neighbors Child Development Center since 1958, was recognized for her activism by many neighborhood groups and local and state politicians. She was one of 10 Del Paso Heights leaders honored with a street named for her in the Del Paso Nuevo development.
"She gave her entire life to our community," Del Paso Nuevo developer Allen Warren said. "She just wanted the best for us."
Auntine Crain was born Oct. 25, 1925, in Franklinton, La. She married Robert Burney in 1948 and moved to California while he was stationed at McClellan Air Force Base.
She raised four children, worked in a cannery and earned a degree in early childhood education at American River College. She was an active member of Allen Chapel AME Church for many years.
Besides her husband of 58 years, Mrs. Burney was predeceased by her sons, Roscoe Riley Jr. and Robert Burney III. She is survived by her daughters, Joyce Askia and Deborah Burney, both of Sacramento, and 10 grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
A service is set for 10 a.m. today at Allen Chapel AME Church, 1239 Grand Ave., Sacramento.
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