Mil­dred Deaton “Susie” Bur­nett Jones

The News & Observer (Sunday) - - Obituaries -

Susie Jones, civic leader in Raleigh for over 50 years, founder of the Raleigh Ju­nior Cotil­lion and “Christ­mas Cel­e­bra­tion On the Mall,” rep­re­sen­ta­tive for North Carolina in The Repub­lic of Ge­or­gia, de­voted wife and mother of five beau­ti­ful chil­dren, passed away on Fe­bru­ary 3rd, 2020. She would have been 92 years old on Valen­tine’s Day.

Mil­dred Deaton (Susie) Bur­nett Jones of Raleigh lived a marvelous, full life. Born Fe­bru­ary 14, 1928, the daugh­ter of John Henry and Ruth Deaton Bur­nett of Bur­gaw, NC. She at­tended the Bur­gaw pub­lic school sys­tem, and UNCGreens­boro.

Grow­ing up in the ham­let of Bur­gaw, Susie yearned for knowl­edge and ad­ven­ture. When World War II loomed, still a child, she an­swered the air raid war­den’s call for vol­un­teers serv­ing as a look­out af­ter school in the town watch tower spot­ting planes. Susie spent much of her teen years jit­ter­bug­ging to swing mu­sic; as a young adult she was lead singer of the big band The Stormy Weath­ers. In 1950 Susie moved to New York City to study voice and modern dance. She worked at Gim­bels Depart­ment Store as a buyer trainee and per­formed two so­los in the off-Broad­way mu­si­cal “Dakota” prior to join­ing the Arthur Mur­ray Man­hat­tan Dance Stu­dio. There, Mur­ray rou­tinely as­signed his celebrity clients to her. On a scout­ing as­sign­ment for Mur­ray in 1952 she re­turned to Raleigh and de­ter­mined it was an up and com­ing town for a new dance stu­dio; she met Dave Jones that same year.

Re­call­ing his 1952 meet­ing with Susie, Dave said, “…she was a stun­ning brunette. High cheek bones gave her a hint of the ex­otic. She was so­phis­ti­cated in ap­pear­ance and man­ner, out­go­ing, an­i­mated and supremely self-con­fi­dent. She laughed eas­ily and of­ten, and her spon­ta­neous friend­li­ness was sub­con­sciously flir­ta­tious. She was the most at­trac­tive, forth­right and con­sci­en­tious per­son I had ever met.”

In 1953 she and Dave were mar­ried. They ob­served their 64th wed­ding an­niver­sary on Oc­to­ber 24th, 2017.

As pres­i­dent for 26 years of Bur­nett En­ter­prises, Inc., her fam­ily’s land de­vel­op­ment com­pany in New Hanover County, she orig­i­nated the de­vel­op­ment of River Oaks sub­di­vi­sion on the Cape Fear River south of Wilm­ing­ton.

She served as pres­i­dent of the Raleigh Fine Arts So­ci­ety, vice pres­i­dent of the Raleigh Jaycettes and Raleigh Ju­nior Woman’s Club, and at var­i­ous times served as di­rec­tor of the Raleigh YWCA, Raleigh Lit­tle Theatre, NC Mu­seum of Art, NC Mu­seum of His­tory, NC Sym­phony, and was a Gov­er­nor’s Man­sion do­cent.

She was a cer­ti­fied me­di­a­tor for the NC Courts; and in the 1980’s, at the re­quest of the Wake County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion, she wrote a book­let on ethics and in­tegrity that was dis­trib­uted to ele­men­tary school stu­dents. She was in­no­va­tive through­out her life work­ing with the NCSU School of En­gi­neer­ing on a de­sign for a wa­ter-sav­ing de­vice as re­cently as April 2018.

Susie Jones pub­lished two books: the au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal When the Moon Stood Still (grow­ing up in eastern North Carolina), and Life Was Full, a bi­o­graph­i­cal synopsis of her par­ent’s lives and courtship.

She was de­voted to her spouse, a life-long news­pa­per man, ac­com­pa­ny­ing him to count­less press events over the decades; she was sharp and in­formed, read­ing the News and Ob­server and New York Times daily.

Fas­ci­nated by new ex­pe­ri­ences, she trav­eled ex­ten­sively in this coun­try and world­wide dur­ing her life­time. While in Tbil­isi, Repub­lic of Ge­or­gia in 1996 - her hus­band re­ceived the Knight In­ter­na­tional Press Fel­low­ship to work with the emerg­ing free press - she was au­tho­rized by Gov­er­nor Jim Hunt to rep­re­sent North Carolina. She and Dave spent three months as am­bas­sadors for the Knight Fel­low­ship and a North Carolina cul­tural ex­change; work­ing as a team pro­fes­sion­ally for the first time in their mar­riage to both of their great sat­is­fac­tion.

Her last trip abroad was to her an­ces­tral home of Scot­land in 2014.

Susie’s love of travel was sur­passed only by her love of North Carolina; the Jones Fam­ily home of 53 years at 2120 White Oak Road, Raleigh, was a place of beauty and warmth cul­ti­vated by Susie and Dave where friends, neigh­bors and rel­a­tives en­joyed many spe­cial times, large and small. Other than her home, her fa­vorite place was the fam­ily beach cot­tage built by her par­ents in 1936.

At ten years of age Susie left the Methodist Church, “her fam­ily pew,” and be­came a Bap­tist, go­ing to church there­after on her own. She joined the Epis­co­pal Church as an adult and was an ac­tive mem­ber at St. Michael’s for 27 years prior to trans­fer­ring to Christ Epis­co­pal Church in 1982. Her spir­i­tual pas­sion and ex­plo­ration of re­li­gions proved a life­long in­quiry.

Mrs. Jones is sur­vived by her four chil­dren and their spouses: Ainslie and Robert Uhl of Raleigh; An­netta and Nor­fleet Hog­gard of Raleigh; Adam and Su­san Jones of Chapel Hill; and Della and David Fried of At­lanta, GA; and twelve grand­chil­dren: Hart, Col­bern, Everett and Henry Uhl; Deaton Jones, Cul­breth Jones and hus­band Joe Ferla; Frances and Ed­ward Hog­gard; Lil­lian and Ainslie Jones; and Ben­jamin and Joscelin James Fried; and her great-grand child: Jude Ferla. She is also sur­vived by three sib­lings: Gil­bert Bur­nett; Ju­lian Bur­nett (his wife Vivian) all of Wilm­ing­ton; Sylvia Crip­pen of Con­necti­cut.

She was pre­ceded in death by her par­ents, her sis­ters, An­netta Collins; Ruth Phillips; Phyl­lis Bur­nett; and Mary El­iz­a­beth Quain­tance; her el­dest son, Wil­liam Davis Jones IV (Davis) and her daugh­terin-law, Karin March Jones; her hus­band of 64 years Wil­liam Davis Jones III (Dave).

Susie was a small-town girl at heart al­ways shar­ing her smile and will­ing to chat. She was courageous and per­sis­tent, ad­vo­cat­ing for cul­tural arts, lead­ing civic projects and de­bat­ing con­tro­ver­sial pol­i­tics. Her style, cre­ativ­ity, pro­duc­tiv­ity, sense of hu­mor and cu­rios­ity never faded. A brave soul, stoic, dignified yet eas­ily moved by na­ture, beauty and the love of fam­ily and coun­try; she loved and was loved.

A me­mo­rial ser­vice will be held on Wed­nes­day, Fe­bru­ary 12th at 11:00 am at Christ Epis­co­pal Church, 120 East Eden­ton Street, Raleigh. The fam­ily will re­ceive friends fol­low­ing the ser­vice in the church par­ish hall. A pri­vate in­ter­ment will be held at Oak­wood Ceme­tery.

In lieu of flow­ers, me­mo­rial do­na­tions may be made to The North Carolina Mu­seum of Art (ncar­t­mu­seum.org), The UNC Huss­man School of Jour­nal­ism and Me­dia (mj.unc.edu.com), Tran­si­tions LifeCare (tran­si­tion­slife­care.org).

Ar­range­ments by BrownWynne, Saint Mary’s St., Raleigh, NC.

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