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William Cory Burell died peacefully on Thursday, March 7 at the age of 35 after a valiant fight with familial ALS.
Cory was an incredible husband and father and loved his family dearly. He is survived by his wife Alison Burell, sons Garrett and Hunter, of the home; mother Rebecca Burell-Rhodes and stepfather Michael Rhodes of Wake Forest; brother and sister-in-law Howie and Tara Thompson of Chapin, South Carolina; loving in-laws, five nieces, one nephew and many other family and friends. He was preceded in death by his father, Billie E. Burell of Raleigh.
Born March 12, 1983 in Charleston, South Carolina to Billie and Rebecca. Cory spent his childhood in Argyle, Texas and Raleigh. A 2001 graduate of Leesville High School, Cory continued his education at East Carolina University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Manufacturing Systems and Industrial Supervision and a minor in industrial technology management. Cory worked in the Electrical Construction Industry for over 15 years, most recently serving as preconstruction director for Cooper Electrical Construction Company. His commitment and service to the industry has left an indelible fingerprint on both Cooper and many others. Cory loved his job and was committed to making a lasting legacy on every project that he touched.
At a young age, the terminal disease ALS rocked Cory’s world. His father was diagnosed and died when Cory was 13. Not a stranger to the impacts of ALS, Cory did not let this stop him – he found passion and drive in advocacy, research and fundraising for a cure upon his diagnosis. Known to many as a “clinical trial guru,” Cory spent countless hours researching and engaging with others. In addition, he actively participated in a clinical trial at Duke and John Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland. Cory actively engaged and collaborated with organizations such as ALS-TDI and I AM ALS. Cory received the Stephen Heywood Patients Today Award in November 2018 given by ALS-TDI. This award is presented to a member of the ALS community who has proven to be a strong advocate for research and awareness. This person challenges their community to collectively fight the disease while serving as an educator for those unfamiliar with ALS.
Cory has made an immeasurable difference on each individual he touched. He was an ECU Pirate at heart, loved being on his boat and always made others smile. Cory lived in the moment, he enjoyed what was going on when it was going on – that’s one reason so many people loved spending time with him. His energy came through and connected everyone. His family finds comfort in knowing that he is no longer in pain and reunited with his father. Cory will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to ALS-TDI 300 Technology Square Suite 400 Cambridge, MA 02139 or to Hopkins ALS Clinical Care & Educational Fund C/O Lora Clawson JHOPC Suite 5070 A 601 N. Caroline St., Baltimore, MD 21287.
The family received friends from 3-5 p.m. Tuesday, March 12 at Bright Funeral Home, 405 S. Main St., Wake Forest.
Funeral services followed at 5 p.m. in the Chapel of Bright Funeral Home. Following the service, family and friends gathered to celebrate Cory’s life and his 36th birthday.