It is said that what matters most in a man's life is "the dash" between two dates. Translated, that would be the life lived between the date that the person was born and the date that they died. What better tribute could be said of "the dash" that was Ray Burnett's life, than that he was loved by everyone that ever knew him. He was the kind of husband, father, "Papa" and friend that people look up to. He was the neighbor you wanted to have because he was always ready and willing to help when you needed him. Ray was a blessed man because of his faithfulness to his Lord. He was faithful and in turn, his God was faithful to fulfill his promises to Ray in life and in death. Ray Burnett, age 87, of Jasper, FL. was born at home in Hamilton County, FL. to the late Hubert and Annie Woodard Burnett. He grew up in Hamilton County, attended school and graduated before joining the United States Air Force. Ray returned home to the community and began a lifelong successful farming operation. He met and married his sweetheart, Rita Gamble of Suwannee County and together they raised three sons. Their home became a gathering place for young people in the church and community. Ray was respected in the farming community and his opinions mattered to other farmers and businessmen alike. He provided jobs for many of the local teenagers in the tobacco fields and or working long-hot days in the chicken houses. He served as chairman and president on numerous boards, representing his interest and knowledge of farming and business/finance in the Tri-County area. In 1978, Farm Bureau decided to implement a new program and name their very first "Farm Family of the Year" and it was that year that the Burnett family was given the award. Ray was a licensed pilot and flew for the Farm Service Agency for a time, aiding in identifying properties. He had an airstrip on his farm and often treated neighborhood children to plane rides. His willingness to mentor brought about careers for others in the flight field. When Hamilton Correctional Institution opened in Jasper, Ray decided to lay down full-time farming and he worked several years in the prison system. What was most important to him however, was his family and his service to his church and to others. He cherished his wife Rita and he had an amazing relationship with each of his sons and their wives. He served as song leader, Sunday School teacher, treasurer and Deacon at Corinth Baptist Church for more years than one could count. Newcomers to the community got to know him after he and his family opened up their barn for a monthly Men's Steak Dinner for the purpose of allowing the men in the area to come together for Christian fellowship and as usual, it has been a wonderful ministry. He was a true Florida State Seminole and enjoyed going to games in Tallahassee with family and friends. Ray was preceded in death by his parents and an infant brother. Survivors include his wife of 64 years, Rita Gamble Burnett and three sons, Michael Burnett (Sandy), Keith Burnett (Terri) and Craig Burnett (Cindy), all of Jasper, FL.; eight grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren. Funeral services were held Sunday, September 30, 2018 at Corinth Baptist Church with Bro. Gary Abbott and Bro. Wilbur Wood officiating the services. Interment followed in the church cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Corinth Baptist Church or Corinth Christian Academy at 7042 SW 41st Ave, Jasper, FL. 32052. Harry T. Reid Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
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