Mrs. Brooksie Burnett was born in Gibson County, Humboldt, Tennessee on April 10, 1918 to the late Emmit and Flossie Fly. She peacefully transitioned from this life into her eternal home in glory on July 11, 2019. She was educated in the public schools of Gibson County.
Burnett obeyed the gospel at an early age and gave her life to Christ on a “Tuesday night in 1934 at 10 p.m.” She united with the Williams Chapel Missionary Baptist Church where she served faithfully as a Sunday school and Bible study teacher. She was also a member of the Missionary Society and wrote speeches, poems and plays for the church’s children and youth ministries, her grandchildren, and children in the community. She wrote and directed a play entitled The Devil’s Funeral.
Burnett was an active member of Williams Chapel Missionary Baptist Church for 80 years until her health declined. For convenience, her love for the church, and in keeping with the Baptist Covenant, she became a devoted member of the Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church.
God blessed Mrs. Brooksie Burnett with 101 years on earth. She experienced many changes, hardships (like the Great Depression) and challenges, which made her a strong and resilient woman of courage. She witnessed a cappella music with timing kept by the tapping of the foot to the piano and other musical instruments, ploughs pulled by mules to ploughs pulled by tractors, harvesting by back-breaking manual labor to cotton pickers and combines, dirt roads to interstate highways, no phones to party-lines, to cell phones and computers, buggy and wagon to the T-Model Ford, to air conditioned electric automobiles and African Americans having no rights to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to the election of the first African American President.
She was the first black female supervisor at the Gibson Annex School where she was employed for seven years. In 1986, she became a community news writer for Williams Chapel Missionary Baptist Church and wrote over 1,400 articles for the Humboldt Chronicle over a span of 28 years.
Drawing from the joyful events in her personal life, Burnett authored and illustrated a book entitled The Chimes of My Life, along with two other books, 545 and Big Willie.
Mrs. Brooksie Burnett was married to X.L. Burnett who passed away in 1972. They had six sons: L.T. Burnett (deceased), Paul Burnett (deceased), Jimmy Burnett (deceased) and Mark Burnett (deceased). She leaves cherished memories to her surviving devoted son, Rev. Eddie L. Burnett, who loved her dearly, visited her daily and was committed to her well being and one other surviving son, Freddie R. Burnett.
Burnett was preceded in death by her sisters: Fannie Clark, Mary Dennis and brothers Ernest and Aubry Fly. She leaves to adore her memories six grandchildren; John Burnett, Paducah, Ky., Barbara Burnett, Nashville, Tenn., Carolyn Hulsey Jackson (Samuel), Tenn., Eddie Burnett, Jr. (Stephanie), Maryland Brooksie Robinson, Dallas, Tex., and India Burnett; two special nieces, Phyllis Elliott, Humboldt, Tenn., and Barbara Bonner, Jackson, Tenn. She has a host of great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, as well as other relatives and friends.
Burnett was a woman who possessed a servant’s heart and was known for her unwavering faith and love for her family. She was friendly and could carry on conversations with total strangers. As a child, she possessed a contagious smile and had an entertaining sense of humor. Through her Christian example, she maintained a demeanor that won the trust and hearts of many and shaped the spirituality of her sons. In her later years, when you visited and asked her how she was doing, she would say, “I’m hanging around like Jessie Brown. I got my ticket and I’m waiting on my train,” and then she would chuckle.
In 1952, she penned one of her best-loved poems entitled The Old Time Religion, which was first place winner in the individual talent at the Senior Olympics in Martin, Tenn. In 1986, she won a trophy in an imitating contest in Camden, Tenn.
Her hobbies included crafts, making corsages and collecting dolls and doll dresses. In 1980, she won first place in a doll contest at a Features Club display.
Burnett was a woman after God’s own heart. She was a loving mother, grandmother, friend, a matriarch of her family, a mentor to many women and children, courageous, loyal, and faithful. She would say, “Meet me here by the running to the mercy seat of God and surrender all of your life to King Jesus. Believe in Jesus and obey Him for He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.” (John 14:6)
“The mark that I leave on this world is my sons. I pray the Chimes of Life will live on and on as a burning lamp in them and the Burnett family.” – Brooksie Burnett