Cover photo for Mary Frances Nurney Byrum's Obituary
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Mary Frances Nurney Byrum

September 9, 1945 — August 1, 2023

Mary Frances Nurney Byrum

   Mary Frances Nurney Byrum, of 188 NC Highway 32 North, Sunbury, NC, died Tuesday, August 1, 2023 in Sentara Obici Hospital, Suffolk, VA.

   Mrs. Byrum was born in Southampton County on September 9, 1945, and was the daughter of the late Lloyd Nurney and Doris Jeanette Vick Nurney Edwards. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her only sister whom she loved dearly, Patricia Fuller.

   Retired from Lipton Tea Company in Suffolk after 30 years, she worked as a Tea Pack Machine Operator. Her life was filled with varied interests, such as being an animal rescue advocate, a talented artist, a Duck Pin Bowling champion, someone who loved both country and classical music, and one who was drawn to television drama series. She loved traveling and had been to Hawaii, California, Alaska, Bermuda, and the Bahamas, but her absolute favorite place was Maggie Valley near the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina.

   Surviving is her best friend and husband of nearly 30 years, Robert E. Byrum; and her children, Inger Willett of Portsmouth, VA, Julie Drake Oglesby of Manassas, VA, Ray Drake (wife, Ruthie “Macy”) of Courtland, VA and Kelly Drake (wife, Wena) of Portsmouth. She was “Mimi” to 10 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. And her constant companions were her four canine fur babies, Teddy, Tennie, Dolly, and Gidget; and her six feline fur babies who sit by quietly as the doggies bark.

   The family wishes to recognize her dear friend, Edith Moore of Sunbury; and most especially her daughter-in-law, Ruthie “Macy” Drake who had been her caregiver during this long period of declining health.

   A Gathering for family and friends will be held Saturday, August 5th, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in Miller Funeral Home, 304 Main Street, Gatesville.

   In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to any chapter of the SPCA or to the Lewy Body Dementia Association, 912 Killian Hill Road S.W., Lilburn, GA 30047, or online at

   Online condolences may be made to the family by visiting

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Past Services

Gathering for Family and Friends

Saturday, August 5, 2023

4:00 - 5:30 pm (Eastern time)

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