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Shirley Smith Burnett, 75, of Tuscaloosa, passed away Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010, at a local nursing home in Alabaster. Mrs. Burnett was born in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Feb. 22, 1935. Most of her childhood was spent in Notasulga, Ala. until the family moved to Fairfield Highlands when Shirley was around 12 years of age. Shirley graduated from Fairfield High School and the University of Alabama, where she obtained her B.S. degree in Education with a major in piano. She played four years in the Million Dollar Band while at the University. Mrs. Burnett married and moved to New Jersey in 1959. She returned to Alabama in 1988 and attended the University of Alabama again to pursue further education in Music Therapy and became a Board Certified Music Therapist (BCMT) in 1991. Mrs. Burnett joined the staff at Bryce Hospital as their first BCMT and was employed with Bryce for 18 years prior to her retirement in July of 2009. She was the organist for Fairfield Highlands Presbyterian Church for several years upon returning to Alabama and was the organist for Bethel Presbyterian Church from 1999 until her retirement in July of 2009. She was a member of University Presbyterian Church in Tuscaloosa.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Clifford and Irene Smith, and her sisters, Mary J. "Jackie" Kirkland and Betsy Joyce Smith. She is survived by her five children, Donna O. Burnett of Pelham, Marie L. Burnett of Berkley, Calif., James D. Burnett (Donna) of Bridgewater, N.J., William C. Burnett (Karyn) of Beachwood, N.J., and Robert M. Burnett (Sue) of Keene, N.Y.; 13 grandchildren, James, Christine, and Matthew Mangham of Alabaster, Emily and Allison Burnett of Bridgewater, N.J., Raymond and Anjuli Chetty of Berkley, Calif., Ryan, Logan, Evan, and Aiden Burnett of Beachwood, N.J., and Zane and Ian Burnett of Keene, N.Y.; three sisters, Catherine S. Rossa of South Milwaukee, Wis., Essie Jean S. Barger of Branson, Mo., and Sandra S. Stone (Jimmy) of Pelham; one half-brother, Michael Smith of Baton Rouge, La.; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to express grateful appreciation to Chandler Health & Rehab and New Beacon Hospice.
Services will be noon Thursday at Tuscaloosa Memorial Chapel Funeral Home. Graveside services will follow at 2 p.m. at Valhalla Cemetery in Midfield with Tuscaloosa Memorial Chapel Funeral Home directing. Visitation will be one hour prior to services at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to New Beacon Hospice, the
, or one's favorite charity.
Published in Courier News on Dec. 8, 2010