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Shirley Burnett

Posted on Tuesday, April 18, 2023 at 12:28 pm

A loving tribute to our “beloved mom, grandmother, and great-grandmother”.  She was known to the young ones only as Nannie who we all cherished.  She was our prayer warrior. She showed kindness to every stranger and to those less fortunate.

Shirley Burnett, age 91 of Centralia and Springfield, MO entered the Gates of Heaven on April 17, 2023 with her loving children surrounding her with love.  She was the wife of Harold Burnett who passed away Feb 16, 2016.  She is survived by her children who have been blessed beyond measure: Greg Burnett of Ashland, MO and wife Cathy.  Jeanne Dorr of Galena, MO and husband Terry, and Cheryl Burnett of Springfield, MO.

A devoted, fun-loving mother, who always gave of her time and heart. She loved people and gave hugs away enthusiastically.  Her essence was joy, chocolate, flowers, birds, and gum everywhere. She was the embodiment of angels and Jesus. Nannie loved her jewelry, red flowers, fingernails with polish and anything chocolate.  She was a member of First Christian Church of Centralia, MO and loved her home of 50 years at 128 S. Jefferson.

Born in Clark, Missouri to her late parents James Albert Shields and Grace Truman Shields on October 9, 1931. Shirley Shields graduated from Centralia High School in 1949. Where she met Harold Burnett, “the only man she ever loved” and married on November 26th, 1953.

She loved her sisters dearly.  Norma Seymour, fraternal twin Marilyn Biesmeyer, Bonnie Ward, as well as Mildred Hoffman.  Her world revolved around her extended family as well as the family of Harold.

Nannie’s grandchildren Joy Bittle (Greg) of Lake St. Louis, Dustin Dorr of Galena  and Holly Hopson (Nate) of Los Angeles, CA were her baby angels. As well as Christian and Jason O’Brien of Overland Park, KS. Great Grandchildren Fischer and Hudson Bittle and Jasper Hopson swept her in love.

A loving mother, entertaining grandmother and great grandmother, Shirley loved her hometown friends and making those around her laugh. She was devoted to her family and church.  She was very active in the Centralia community and the First Christian Church and lived at the corner of Head and Jefferson Street for 50 years in the same home. She stepped out of the working world to be the best mom ever. She opened the door to all the neighborhood kids and provided a safe place that many called home. She bragged about her children to perfect strangers.  Her genuine love for people impacted everyone she met for the better. Mom lived life on her terms—full of love, compassion and service, yet with time for adventure. Mom thoroughly loved having coffee with her friends while making sure each waiter or waitress got a hug.

Mom was quite athletic, along with her fraternal twin sister, Marilyn Biesmeyer.  They started playing basketball after moving to Centralia from Sturgeon as sophomores at Centralia High School.  She coached softball when her daughters needed a team. She talked to the school board to bring girls basketball back to the high school. Her athletics never failed, as she would make it down to the court immediately after every big Lady Bear win.

Mom, you have given so much and asked for so little in return. Thank you for always being there for us, for teaching us, listening to us, helping and forgiving us, loving us, and always, always paving the way for us. We will work hard to reach the standard you set. Farewell sweet mama. You were simply magnificent.

Funeral services celebrating her life will be 11;00 am Tuesday, April 25th, 2023 at the Oliver Funeral Home in Centralia, MO.  Interment will be in the Centralia City Cemetery. Visitation will be from 10:00 am until service time at the Oliver Funeral Home in Centralia, MO. In lieu of flowers the family asks for memorial gifts to the First Christian Church of Centralia, Missouri, c/o Oliver Funeral Home, P.O. Box 125, Centralia, MO 65240. Condolences may also be made to the family at