Alma Lou Huff Burdette, 94: Was skilled proofreader for decades

Some relatives joked that Alma Burdette was blessed with a set of skills that eluded most of the family.

She was a good speller and knew where to place commas, periods and other punctuation marks. Others in the family were awful at it, chuckled Shay Burdette, a granddaughter from Atlanta.

Mrs. Burdette applied her skills as a proofreader for two local printing firms that manufactured various books and journals. She also worked 10 years at The Atlanta Constitution and The Atlanta Journal, where she clarified grammar, caught  inconsistencies and adhered to style guidelines.

"I don't know how she got into proofreading," said a brother, John D. Huff of Conyers, "but she did it quite a while. I lived next to her about 40 years in Conyers after she retired. She always read a lot of books and stuff like that."

Alma Lou Huff Burdette had lived in the Remington Retirement Home in Conyers the past eight years. Recently, she fell and broke her hip, which required a surgery that she never rebounded from completely. Mrs. Burdette died Friday at Hospice House of  Conyers. She was 94.

Her funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday in the chapel of Covington's Wheeler Funeral Home and Crematory, which is in charge of arrangements.

Mrs. Burdette was born in Meadow, a small farm community near Athens. She, her mother and six siblings moved to Atlanta to live with an aunt after her father died. She was 17 or 18 at the time, and got a job at a West End bakery. There, she met the late D.O. Burdette Jr., her husband of about 40 years.

In 1960, her husband opened Clardy Auto Air, a business on Marietta Street that relatives say was one of the first to specialize in the installation of air-conditioners for cars. When the operation started to prosper, the couple moved to Conyers and became active at Salem United Methodist Church in Covington. She eventually stopped work altogether and focused on the home.

Shay Burdette has kept some of her grandmother's trade tools, including a proofreader's handbook, rulers and even some old block printing press letters used back in the day.

"They are pretty cool," she said.

Additional survivors include a son, David T. Burdette of Atlanta; another brother, Marshall Huff of Atlanta; three sisters, Grace Johnson of Smyrna; Elizabeth Eiserman of Orlando and Sue Patterson of Atlanta; and two grandchildren.