Mary Joyce Goodman Burnett, a Texan Wesleyan University professor for 38 years, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, May 29, 2019. She was born on January 14, 1934, in Stafford, Kansas, to Lowell and Mary Goodman. She was the wife of retired dentist, Don Burnett, of Arlington, TX.
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You’ve heard the saying, “You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl”. Mary Joyce grew up on a Stafford county farm where she attended her first eight years of school at Antrium Grade School, a two-room school house, through 6th grade. Her claim to fame, as far as her grandsons are concerned, is the fact that she spent days walking, riding a horse, or riding in a Cushman motor scooter with a side car, 2 ½ miles to a county school!
Her parents bought a home in Pratt, Kansas, so she could graduate from Pratt High School. Upon graduation she attended Colorado Women’s College for two years receiving her Associates of Arts Degree, her first of many. In 1955 she graduated from the University of Oklahoma. Immediately, she was accepted at Teachers College at Columbia University where she received her Masters of Science Degree which qualified her to be a teacher at the college level. She went on to obtain her doctorate from North Texas State in Denton. She was continuously focused on and successful in the realm of education.
After being set up on a blind date, she found the love of her life, Don Burnett, and they were married for over 60 years. She often claimed that meeting Don was the best part of teaching in Hays, Kansas! Raising two children and three grandsons has been her greatest work.
After teaching at Fort Hays Kansas State College from 1957-59, she married Don who was attending the University of Colorado to complete a master’s degree. She taught at Boulder High School and then moved to New York City so her husband could attend Columbia University to complete a Doctorate in Student Personnel Administration. Their daughter, Mary-Dawn, was born there in 1959, thus becoming a native New Yorker. Don accepted a job as Dean of Men at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where they lived for two years. Their son, Doug, was born in Des Moines in 1962. A change in careers brought the Burnetts to Fort Worth in 1963. As her husband completed dental school, she began teaching in the Business School at Texas Wesleyan College and supported her family. They moved to Arlington in 1969.
Mary Joyce served as Chairman of the Faculty Assembly and President of the Texas Business Education Association in the 70’s and 80’s. While at Texas Wesleyan she served as Director of Administration and Financials, Dean of the Weekend University, and a professor in the School of Business. In 1982, Mary Joyce recognized the need for students to show more respect to one another and began to incorporate business etiquette in her Business Communications classes. She was certified in Business Etiquette at At Ease, Inc., in Cincinnati, Ohio. Retirement from Texas Wesleyan came in 2002, after teaching for a combined 42 years, to spend more time with her family, in particular, her grandsons!
Some of the awards she received throughout her career were the following:
Teacher of the Year at TWU in 1979 and 1994
Heads Above the Crowd given by students at Texas Wesleyan, 1980
State of Texas Piper Profession only 7 professors in the state of Texas chose), 1987
Earl Brown Outstanding Scholar Award, 1992
John Maddux, Jr. Outstanding Achievement Award, 1998
The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church Outstanding Professor Award, 1998
Church Outstanding Professor Award, 1998
While teaching she wrote or co-wrote, along with Alta Dollar, a High school Business Communications textbook, a college Business Communications textbook, and a Junior College Business English textbook. She took writing on a different journey when she co-authored a cookbook, Easy Entertaining, with her dear friend, Norma Sue Davis.
As members of Trinity United Methodist Church she served on the Finance Committee, Endowment Committee, and Board of Trustees. She was the president of the ABC class, where she enjoyed introducing visiting teachers to the class each week. She participated in the Stephen Ministry as a counselor and tremendously enjoyed a Bible Study led by Mary Beth Ward. In addition to her time in a local congregation, she completed 5 years of Bible Study Fellowship.
Being a member of PEO, Chapter EM, was one of Mary Joyce’s treasured interest. She formed supportive friendships and continued to contribute significantly through PEO activities.
Helping take care of her three grandsons was her greatest joy. She was often seen in the front yard watching them ride trikes, taking them to cultural events, or teaching them to cook! Lovingly called Nannah, she was an integral part of their lives. She told special stories about each grandson and burst with pride whenever with them.
Mary Joyce Burnet is preceded in death by her parents, Lowell and Mary Goodman, and her son, Doug Burnett, who died of leukemia in 2003 at the age of 40. She is survived by her husband, Don Burnett; her daughter, Mary-Dawn Hudspeth and son-in-law, Tom Hudspeth; grandsons, Trey and Matthew Hudspeth; daughter-in-law, Mary Helen Burnett and grandson, Benjamin Burnett.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to your local church or to TWU:
Texas Wesleyan School of Business
Attn: Gina Phillips
1201 Wesleyan Street
Fort Worth, TX
Her family thanks you for helping us honor Mary Joyce Burnett.
Wade Family Funeral Home