October 30, 1928 - July 13, 2019
Mother, grandmother, writer, columnist and motivational speaker Joan Rossiter Burney, a woman of great faith, humor and love, friend to everyone who knew her, went gladly home to God on Saturday, July 13, 2019, at Country House in Lincoln. She was 90. Born in Walthill, Oct. 30, 1928, the sixth of Emmett W. and June Rossiter's seven children, Joan moved when Emmet founded the Bank of Hartington in 1934. She attended Holy Trinity Schools and on Sept. 13, 1947, married Howard Keith “Kip” Burney. They settled on a cattle farm near Hartington where they raised six children.
Joan became involved in numerous community organizations, including directing the choir at Holy Trinity Church and counseling students at the high school. In her 80s, she retired and moved to Lincoln to live with daughter Juli. Multi-talented and involved in many things, family always came first for Joan but she also began her 40-year career as a columnist at the Cedar County News in her mid-30s and returned to college to earn both bachelor's and master's degrees. She soon became an author and motivational speaker with a wide audience. She shared faith and laughter while encouraging others that while they could not always control the people or troubles around them, they could control their own reactions and use humor to give themselves a new perspective on events. Joan was an activist, advocate, friend, mentor and cheerleader for many.
Over time Joan's talents and contributions were recognized with a number of awards. Among them: 1991 Nebraska Mother of the Year, 1991 National Mother of the Year by American Mothers, Inc.; 1993 National Federation of Press Women's National Communicator of Achievement, and 1995 Hartington Community Service Award. In 2015 the Cedar County News honored Joan with a yearly Joan Rossiter Burney Outstanding Communicator Award for a Cedar Catholic High School graduating senior, and she was named to the Marian Andersen Nebraska Women Journalists Hall of Fame.
Joan is survived by six children and their spouses: Robert, Cambria, Calif.; Bill, Pismo Beach, Calif.; John (LouAnn), Lincoln; Juli, Lincoln; Tom (Pam), Norfolk; and Chuck (Kathy), Elkhorn; grandchildren Kate, Abbie and Jayme Burney and Marc Abraham Burney-Webb; and great-grandson Darien Fuller, plus nieces and nephews, and numerous others who loved her.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Emmett and June Rossiter; husband Howard Keith Burney; infant son David; brothers Lawrence and Vincent, and sisters Mary, Connie, June and Anne.
Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, July 19, at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Hartington with the Rev. Owen Korte officiating. A private family burial will be at St. Michael's Cemetery in Hartington. Visitation will be on Thursday, at church, from 5-8 p.m. with a vigil at 7 p.m. Visitation will continue on Friday one hour prior to services. Arrangements are under the direction of the Wintz Funeral Home in Hartington. A celebration of life gathering will be scheduled in Lincoln later this year. In lieu of flowers memorials are suggested to the Joan Burney Scholarship Fund through the Hartington Community Foundation, Hartington.