Family photo, All
Barbara Burningham and husband Carl, center, with Mary Mann and husband Charles, right, in front of the Boise LDS Temple. Burningham and Mann were visiting teaching companions for more than 50 years. At left is the Jeffries. Family photo

Barbara Burningham and Mary Mann haven't just lived in the same ward for six decades.

From 1952 to 2007, they were visiting teaching companions. And despite not even living in the same state, they never missed their assigned sisters.

Burningham, who lived in Nyssa, Ore., and Mann, who lived "out in the country" in Apple Valley, Idaho, became acquainted at a Nyssa hospital after they both had a baby. Those two sons are now 61.

"We met a little bit before at church," Mann said. "But we really got to be good friends after that."

The Nyssa ward stretched across the state line and encompassed Apple Valley, which was about seven miles away. Burningham would drive to Apple Valley to pick up Mann every month for visiting teaching.

On almost every occasion, they visited the sisters and took turns giving a lesson.

"I'll bet we didn't call more than five or six times in those 50 years," Mann said.

"We only called a couple of times," Burningham said. "We quit because I think people were getting tired of seeing us."

Mann's failing eyesight prevented her from preparing lessons, and the two are no longer visiting teaching companions.

After being told of the split, the two said, "We will do whatever you ask," said Nyssa Ward Relief Society President Sidney Harley.

"They are the most 'with it' women I have ever been around," Harley said.

Mann worked at the Boise Temple for 20 years. At 90 years old and having suffered two recent falls, she doesn't get around much. However, she and Burningham still sit together on the same bench at church.

Burningham, 91, now serves as a visiting teacher supervisor. On a recent visit to the doctor, she was told: "You have been spoiled."

"No, I have been blessed," she replied.

Among her friends, she's the only one who still drives. She worked at the Boise Temple two days a week for 22 years — driving the 100-mile round trip on Tuesdays and Wednesdays every week.

Burningham says the only reason she doesn't continue to work is because her family doesn't think she should be driving that much in the winter.

"I'm sure I could have worked there another five years at least," she said.