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Johnsie Lee Broadway Burnett

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COLUMBIA, Md. - Johnsie Lee Broadway Burnett, first born child of John R. Broadway Sr. and Jossie Gaddy Broadway, entered the world on June 4, 1926 in Anson County, N.C. The birth was a challenging experience for mother and daughter, and while both came through the ordeal successfully there were many tense and anxious moments. The birth was so difficult for Jossie Broadway that her father and mother, David and Nancy Gaddy of Wadesboro, N.C., took it upon themselves to care for and raise Baby Johnsie themselves, along with their own children, her aunts and uncles. Johnsie attended Deep Creek Elementary and High School, graduating in 1945, interrupted by several years in Princeton, N.J., in the home of her mother and father.
Johnsie attended Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C., graduating magna cum laude in 1949 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. While enrolled at Shaw University, Johnsie met and fell in love with Zaron W. Burnett of Steelton, Pa., a returning veteran of the United States Navy who was discharged following the end of World War II. They married in 1949 and lived in Chatham and Danville, Va., until 1959. In 1959 they moved their family, now including five children, Erroll, Zaron Jr., Irving, Douglas and Rosalind, to Lancaster, Pa., where Zaron Burnett Sr., newly graduated with a master's degree in Public Health from the University of Michigan, accepted employment from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and Johnsie accepted employment from the Pennsylvania Department of Public Assistance. Afterwards, promotions relocated the family from Lancaster to Harrisburg and Meadville, Pa., and finally to Hamilton Township, N.J. in February 1964. They made their home there until Zaron passed away in June 1999, after which Johnsie moved to Columbia, Md., to share a home with her youngest son, Douglas, and his family. She resided with them until her peaceful passing on Saturday evening, October 26, 2013.
Johnsie was a devoted member of the United Methodist Church, having affiliated with congregations in Meadville, Pa., Trenton, N.J. and Columbia, Md.She was a loyal and active member of the Top Ladies of Distinction, an organization dear to her heart, as well as the National Association of Methodist Women, and the American Association of University Women. She belonged to many service organizations over the years and was always prepared to pitch in and lend a helping hand. Johnsie possessed a love of learning and scholarship that guided her through life on a journey of curiosity, discovery, and investigation. She was known for her sense of humor, her love of a good book and her fondness for marathon discussions of current affairs. She presided over a household that raised five children, each of whom graduated from high school and enrolled in colleges and universities of their choosing.
Predeceased by her husband Zaron Sr. and her daughter, Rosalind Burnett Harris, Johnsie is survived by four sons, Errol, Zaron, Irving and Douglas; three daughters-in-law, Patricia Bacon Burnett, Pearl Cleage and Hanifah Huntley; beloved sisters, Frances Broadway Craig, Nancy Burch Shelton, Doretha Burch Tucker, Eula Burch Sharrock, Alice Burch Powell, Barnia Burch Young and Irma Jean Burch Tillman; three brothers Herbert, John and Romus, having been predeceased by brothers, John R. Jr., Henry, Lee, James and Housted and a sister, Lina Broadway Boone; a nephew, Daryl Boone with whom she shared a special relationship; and a brother and sister-in-law, Leo and Maggie Burnette of Harrisburg, Pa. She also leaves eight grandchildren, five great- grandchildren and a host of nephews, nieces and cousins all of whom were dear to her.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 at Mt. Pisgah A.M.E. Church, 170 Witherspoon St., Princeton, N.J. Calling hours will be 9 a.m. until time of services at the church. Interment Princeton Cemetery. Arrangements are by the Hughes Funeral Home.
Published in The Trentonian on Oct. 31, 2013
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