Mrs. Burnett attributes longevity to her faith

Gigi Tinsley | 2/27/2014, 9 a.m.

When one has lived long enough to be called a centurion, that individual belongs to a very elite group that has very few members. Mrs. Gertrude McNish Jones Burnett, 99, will belong to that group in less than eleven months.

Burnett was born January 9, 1915 in Fort White, Columbia County, Florida. She is one of six children born to



Carrie and Walter McNish.

She attended the Columbia County Schools, became a Christian at a very early age, and dedicated her life to serving God. She was very involved and active in her community. Some of the positions she has held in the church include, but were not limited to: Chairperson of the stewardess Board, church treasurer, church planning committee, “Mother” of the church, and provided food, from her home in Daytona Beach, for the needy with assistance from the city.

Her awards and recognitions include: Certificate of Appreciation Award from Daytona Beach local Sororities for Community Service and Home Beautification Award from the City of Daytona Beach, for several years, by the city officials.

Burnett hobbies were writing poems, public speaking by invitation, modeling for special community events and making calls to friends and family members “to keep them united.”

Burnett’s first husband was her “childhood sweetheart,” Oscar Jones. They were married for twenty years.

From that union was born three daughters and one son, who died at a very early age. Later, she married John Burnett and that marriage lasted thirty years. Burnett died in 2007.

Because of failing health Burnett was brought to Miami by her three daughters, Juanita J. Woods, Fannie J. Humes, and Gloria J. Johnson, all retired educators from the Miami-Dade County School System.

In addition to her three daughters, Burnett has four grandchildren: Ronnie Newbold, Michelle Jackson, Natalie Moore of Miami, and Dr. Miles Johnson of Atlanta, GA.; eight great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandson.

Burnett resides at Sylvia’s Retirement Home, LLC, 1823 NW 94th Street in Miami and attributes her longevity to following the teachings of the Lord and “Doing unto others as you wish them to do unto you.”