Detroit Free Press
Andree Burney: Taught French, English to many
May 6, 2004
BY JEANNE MAY
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
Andree Gregory Burney, who taught French and English to hundreds of students
in the Detroit area, died of cancer Sunday at Harper Hospital in Detroit.
She was 63 and lived in Plymouth.
After earning two bachelor’s degrees — in education and political science
— at Wayne State University, she started teaching there.
“She was in the College of Education, teaching other teachers how to teach
French,” her husband, Philip, said Wednesday. “She used the audio-lingual
method. They’d come into class, and she’d take their books away and speak
nothing but French to them.
“Both her children spoke both French and English always, and both passed
French in college without taking a course.”
After several years at Wayne State, Mrs. Burney took about a decade off to
rear her children, then went to the Lycee International School in Detroit,
where she taught English to students from overseas. She also taught English
to Armenian children at the Alex Manoogian School, and in the early ’70s,
she taught French at Oak Park High School.
>From there, she moved to Fordson High School in Dearborn, teaching French
there at the same time she taught it at Henry Ford Community College in
Dearborn. She retired in 2002.
She came by French naturally. She was born in Marseilles, France, in 1939 —
a year before Germany conquered France in World War II. Her family had fled
to France from their native Armenia.
When she was 2 years old, her father managed to get out of the country and
come to the United States, intending to send for his family.
But they were trapped.
“She could actually remember at nighttime going to the air-raid bomb
shelters, hearing the sirens,” her husband said.
In 1947, her family reunited in Dearborn, and she graduated from Fordson.
While she taught, she earned a master’s degree in linguistics at Wayne State
and a master’s in French literature at the Sorbonne in Paris. She also took
students for summers in Europe about 20 times.
When she was young, she learned to play the piano, and she sang with the
Schoolcraft Community Choir and the St. John’s Armenian Church Komitas
Choir. She also sang at the weddings of each of her children.
Besides her husband of 41 years, survivors include a son, Phillippe; a
daughter, Yvette Faiter; her mother; two brothers, and three grandchildren.
The funeral will be at 10:30 a.m. today at St. John’s Armenian Church, 22001
Northwestern Highway, Southfield. Arrangements are by the Simon Javizian
Funeral Home in Detroit.
The family suggests any memorial donations be made to the church, 22001
Northwestern Highway, Southfield 48075.
Contact JEANNE MAY at 586-469-4682or [email protected]