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Edith Burrell was Gettysburg’s first kindergarten teacher

Mass of Christian Burial for Edith Burrell, 100, of Gettysburg, was held Monday, March 19, 2018, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Gettysburg.
Interment was in Sacred Heart Cemetery under the direction of Kesling Funeral Home of Mobridge.
Edith slipped quietly into the arms of the Lord on March 7, 2018, with her children by her side at Fairview Ridges Hospital in Burnsville, Minn.
Edith Mary Collins was born the youngest child of James and Elizabeth Metzinger Collins on Aug. 14, 1917, near Trail City. She grew up in the Trail City area and graduated as valedictorian of Trail City High School. She attended Northern State Teachers College and obtained a one-year teaching certificate.
Over the years, Edith continued to take classes and renew her certificate and obtained her Bachelors’ degree in December of 1976. She taught in the Faulk County rural schools for many years. While in Faulkton, she met her future husband, Bruce Burrell. They were married in Aberdeen on Dec. 7, 1949, and made their home in Gettysburg. Following their marriage, she taught in the Potter County rural school system for several years and taught in Lebanon for 20 years. She spent the last year of her 45-plus-year teaching career in Hoven as the title reading teacher. She taught kindergarten the first year it was offered in Gettysburg.
Following the death of her husband Bruce in 1998, she continued to live in Gettysburg and eventually began to spend winters in Burnsville, Minn., with her daughter Deb. During the last four years, she spent the majority of her time with Deb.
In August 2017, she enjoyed celebrating her 100th birthday with family, friends and former students.
Survivors include her daughter, Debra Burrell of Burnsville; son and daughter-in-law, Dennis and Cindy Burrell, grandchildren, Chris (Cathy) Bartlett, Kristen (Brooks) Henderson, great-grandchildren, William and Hannah Bartlett and Ellie and Alex Henderson, all of Watertown; many nieces and nephews and their families; cousin, Carol Morris; sister-in-law, Ria Burrell of Lucerne, Switzerland; and many friends; and her special companion, Mocha.
Edith was preceded in death by her parents; sisters, Ann (Arthur) Nelson, Esther (Ed) Flahaven, Emma Collins, Agnes (Al) Grad, Thresa (Joe) Condon; Florence (Charles) Chapman, Mary (Ernest “Tuffy”) Ducheneaux; brothers, Sylvester (Margaret) Collins and Norbert (Bea) Collins; and several nieces and nephews.