TOPEKA, Kan. – It is with broken hearts, loving memories, loyal dedication and caring love from family members, that we sadly announce the passing of Gilbert Austin “Cornbread” Burnett Sr., 90, of Topeka, Kan. Gilbert had fought dementia, macular degenerative eye disease, which caused him to become legally blind, and congestive heart failure, before passing away on March 29, 2017. Gilbert passed peacefully at his home in Topeka, with his family by his side. He just reached and celebrated his 90th birthday on March 23, 2017.
Gilbert graduated from the Melvern (Kan.) Schools. He served in the United States Army during World War II and the Korean War. He served as a surgical technician at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas, and then at Camp Carson, Colorado. While in the service he collected over 5,000 pints of blood. He was discharged at the rank of sergeant. He worked and retired from Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Topeka. As a pastime, he was a landlord, renting to many tenants over the years. He also built two houses on his own. While working at Goodyear, he also loved to farm the land, raise livestock and garden. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle to many. Gilbert will be dearly missed by many. He was the best. His motto was “Hurry up and wait.”
On July 27, 1957, Gilbert was married to Mary Bell Arb, in Topeka.
Gilbert was preceded in death by his wife, Mary, on June 3, 2002; his parents, Trilby Jane (Bell) Burnett and William Albert Burnett; sisters, Georgia Ann Miller, Donna Lee, Mildred and Chloette; brothers, Kenneth Burnett, Sonny Burnett and George Albert; a brother-in-law, Clarence Lacey; and a nephew, Jim Lacey.
Gilbert is survived by a sister, Mary Edna Lacey, Waverly, Kan.; two brothers-in-law, Dean Miller, Topeka, and Leo Arb, Scranton, Kan.; a sister-in-law, Goldie Young, of Texas; his children, Mary Lisa Burnett, Topeka, Gilbert Burnett Jr., Topeka, and Kathy Sparks, of Minnesota; a stepson, Richard Miller, of Arizona; 11 grandchildren, William Austin Burnett, Janie Marie, Sheila Kay (Sam) Pence, Timmy (Marcie), Kristy Tomson, Gary Sparks, J.J. Brown, Austin Lee, Misty, Fred and Sonya; 15 great-grandchildren, Anthony, Katy (Ross), Joey, Heidi, Heather, Sheri, Wyatt, Riley, Eden, Linsey, Logan, Brittany, Tanner, Maxwell and unborn baby Apollo; six great-great-grandchildren, Baby Clint, Sayra, Selenis, Luis, Keyara and Artiemecia; and a host of nieces and nephews, Jack (Joyce) Lacey, John (Carolyn) Lacey, Joyce Lacey, Phyllis (Ronnie) Bitts, Sharon (Ralph) Shaffer, Linda (Gary) Johnson, Dawn (Ronnie) Bartlett, Leslie (Russ) Petty II, and Brad Miller.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, at Feltner Funeral Chapel, Lyndon. Burial will be in the Lyndon Cemetery. The family will receive friends 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, at the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to the Great Lakes Hospice, sent in care of Feltner Funeral Home, 818 Topeka Ave., Lyndon, KS 66451. Online condolences may be left at feltnerfuneralhome.com.