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Burnett selflessly cares for husband, family, church members

Beatriz E. Valenzuela, Staff Writer

HESPERIA • As Michelle Merriman goes through life, she knows exactly who she wants to strive to emulate. She’s not a celebrity, a politician or even a publicly recognized humanitarian. It’s her grandmother, Carol Burnett.

“She’s just so amazing and always encourages people to do better and do great things,” Merriman said.

For Burnett’s dedication to her family and church, Merriman nominated her grandmother as one of this year’s Daily Press Inspiring Women.

As Burnett nears her 80th birthday, she shows no signs of slowing. She still holds a weekly bible study at her church, New Life Chapel, which she and her husband, William, pastored for 24 years. In all, the couple pastored for more than 50 years in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The couple has retired and their son has now taken over at the church.

Burnett also takes time to call and visit sick church members in the hospital, making sure they know they are being thought of and giving them support.

“The Lord gives me the ability to be able to continue to do these things and I’m grateful,” said the Hesperia mother of three, grandmother of 10 and great-grandmother of 14.

Merriman is many times left in awe of her grandmother, as Burnett is still able to help care for some of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“She’s just so active and does so much,” Merriman stated. “She never stops.”

But it’s not just Burnett’s dedication to her church, which Merriman admires, but Burnett’s selfless devotion to her husband of 60 years.

Twenty years ago, William Burnett suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. Carol Burnett continued to selflessly care for her husband by helping him with many daily activities.

“She just does it so lovingly and never complains about it,” Merriman said. “She just loves him so much and she’s such an inspiration to me and so many others.”

And when the grandparents learned William Burnett was going to need open-heart surgery, Carol Burnett took on the responsibility of his care without missing a beat.

“God has given me that strength or I possibly couldn’t do it,” Carol Burnett said. “I receive that strength from Him day by day from prayer.”


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