Abney E Bourne

June 4, 2022

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Obituary for Abney E. (Key) Bourne

Sunrise: August 18, 1919 – Sunset: June 4, 2022

Abney Elouise (Key) Bourne, daughter of the late Rev. Walter and Amanda (Abney) Key was born in Edgefield County, South Carolina, on August 18, 1919. She departed this life, peacefully at home in Cambridge, Massachusetts on June 4, 2022.

Abney grew up in Trenton, South Carolina on her parents sprawling farm with her siblings and a niece and nephew and was educated at Bettis Academy High School and Bettis Junior College in Trenton, SC. The school was established in 1881 by Alexander Bettis, a former enslaved person, minister, and founder of the Mt. Canaan Baptist Church in Edgefield County, SC. She earned her Elementary Education Teaching Certificate, and taught second grade in elementary school after college. Abney migrated to Cambridge, MA in 1940 during the Great Migration, when many African Americans came North in search of safety, opportunity, and more freedom. While living in Boston, she met, courted, and married Wendell Chester Bourne of Cambridge, Massachusetts at Twelfth Baptist Church, Roxbury, MA, in 1947. From this union were born three children, a son, Wendell C. Bourne, Jr. and two daughters, Gloria L. (Bourne) Lee, and Jeanette L. Bourne.

Mrs. Bourne worked a number of jobs in Cambridge during her long career in the City of Cambridge. These included the Harvard Cooperative Society and the Corcoran’s Department Stores in Harvard Square, and she taught in the Cambridge Head-Start Preschool Program. Arguably, her greatest impact on the community was made through

her work as a youth employment counselor for the Office of Manpower Affairs, the Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee, and the Cambridge Rent-A-Kid Program, where she helped many youth develop independence and responsibility in the world of work. Many of those young people went on to become the political, civic, and economic leaders in the city of Cambridge, and elsewhere.

Among her other civic and community activities were working as a Cambridge Election Polling Inspector and Poll Clerk for over 50 years in North Cambridge, a Boy Scout Den Mother and Girl Scout Leader. She was an active member of the Parent Teacher Association at Peabody and Russell Elementary Schools in Cambridge, and a very active member of the Black Concerned Parents for Better Education at Cambridge High and Latin School in the 1970’s. Mrs. Bourne also served many years with distinction on the Tenant Council of the Russell Senior Housing Complex at the North Cambridge Senior Center.

Abney accepted Christ at an early age at Mount Canaan Baptist Church in South Carolina, and was a devoted Christian mother, and member of the historic Union Baptist Church of Cambridge where she raised her three children and faithfully served on the Finance Board, the Sunday School staff, the Moses Kennedy Scholarship Committee, and the church’s Centennial Anniversary Committee.

Over the years, Mrs. Bourne welcomed into her home countless young students and others whom she had befriended as they passed through Cambridge for work and college, including the two she called, “her adopted son and daughter,” Dr. Wilbert Jordan of West Hollywood, CA and Mrs. Kay Stuart formerly of Boston, MA, now of Detroit, MI. She also actively nutured her family’s growth and development: rarely missing a performance, graduation, or athletic event for her children and grandchildren, as her health permitted. Mrs. Bourne’s sharp intellect, fantastic memory, generosity, and warm smile will be remembered by all who knew her.

Abney was preceded in death by her husband, Wendell C. Bourne, Sr., four sisters, Carrie Key Johnson, Jennie Key Simmons, Lula Key McCoy, Harriett Key Holmes, two brothers, Henry Key, Walter Key Jr., and nephew, Otis (Jot) Brayboy,

“Mother Bourne,” “Gramma” was a much-loved mother of three, grandmother of six, and great-grandmother of eight. She loved the Lord, Jesus Christ, her family, and her community and leaves to celebrate her life her son, Wendell C. (Margo) Bourne, Jr. of Woburn, MA; and daughters, Gloria L. (Anthony) Lee, of Framingham, MA; Dr. Jeannette L. Bourne of Mooresville, NC; six grandchildren, Dr. Milele T. (Alvin) Francis of Smyrna, GA; Dara A. A. (Dr. James D. IV) McLurkin of Seattle WA; Noni A. Bourne of Decatur, GA; Cheo H. (Branden) Bourne-Jacobs of Brooklyn, NY; Dr. Esi M. (Ado) Rhett-Bamberg of Pearland, TX; Amandi J. Rhett of Pearland, TX; eight great-grandchildren, Eric and Arin Francis of Smyrna, GA; James D. McLurkin, V (Tano) of Seattle, WA; Nile and Noah Garrett of Decatur, GA; Indigo Bourne-Jacobs of Brooklyn,

NY; Ava and Leo Bamberg of Pearland, TX, niece, Dorothy (Sis) Powell of Atlanta, GA, and a host of other nieces, nephews, cousins and good friends.

In later years, home health agencies assisted her family in Mrs. Bourne’s care, and she was lovingly cared for by several special home health aides in her own home.


Massachusetts Service:

Saturday, June 25, 2022 at the

Union Baptist Church

874 Main St.

Cambridge, MA 02139

Wake: 10:00 AM

Funeral Service: 11:00 AM

Servicing funeral home:

A.J Spears Funeral Home

124 Western Ave.

Cambridge, MA 02139




South Carolina Service:

Mrs. Bourne will be laid to rest in her hometown at a graveside service in

Bettis Academy Memorial Park

78 Nicholson Road

Trenton, SC 29847

July 6, 2022

10:00 am

Servicing funeral home:

Davis Funeral Home

140 Davis Road

Ridge Spring, SC 12929



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Visitation with the Family
June 25, 2022

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Union Baptist Church
874 Main St
Cambridge Ma, MA 02139

Video is available for this event

Funeral Service
June 25, 2022

11:00 AM
Union Baptist Church
874 Main St
Cambridge Ma, MA 02139

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