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Bessie Tillery Burkett

November 10, 1919 - January 30, 2019

AULANDER, NC – Bessie Tillery Burkett, age 99, passed away on Wednesday, January 30, 2019 at the Vidant Roanoke Chowan Hospital of Ahoskie, NC.

Mrs. Burkett was born on November 10, 1919 to Samuel and Susan Tillery in Bertie County, NC. Bessie was married to the love of her life, Merrick on January 14, 1937. They were married for 52 years before his passing in 1989 and to this marriage was born eight children. Family was the most important thing in life to Mrs. Bessie. She was the most loving person in the world, loving everyone. Bessie enjoyed her flowers, her church, her church family, and cooking. Her family loved to gather for holidays to enjoy her collards and butter beans. Bessie was a mother to all and was known as Grandma Burkett and “Granny B” to her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great great-grandchildren. She will be deeply missed by all that knew her.


Besides her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Merrick Singleton Burkett, a son, James Colbert “JC” Burkett, and five siblings; David Tillery, Daisy Morris, Annie Cooke, Clara Burkett, and Eppie Tillery.

Bessie is survived by four daughters, Marie Hembree and husband Allen of Hendersonville, NC, Virgia Nichols and husband Jesse of Ahoskie, NC, Brenda Guill  and husband Carlton of Aloha, OR, and Janice Wagal of Ahoskie, NC; three sons, Wayne Burkett and wife Julia of Aulander, NC, Richard Burkett and wife Jean of Colerain, NC, and Ray Burkett and wife Gail of Ahoskie, NC; daughter in law, Jackie Burkett of Moyock, NC; twenty-five grandchildren; Linda, Dottie, Debbie, Guy, Drew, Scottie, Becky, Scott, Beverly, Michael, Brenda, Wanda, Karla, Rich, Donny, Wesley, Carey, Michael, Belinda, Glenda, Victor, Ashley, Deborah, Frankie, and Andrew; and 80 great-grandchildren and great great-grandchildren, along with numerous nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends Saturday, February 2, 2019, from 7:00 pm until 8:30 pm at Garrett-Sykes Funeral Service, Ahoskie, NC and other times at the home.

A celebration of life funeral service will be held Sunday, February 3, 2019, at 3:00 pm at the St. John’s Baptist Church, Ahoskie, NC, with Pastor Doug Van Niel, officiating. Burial will follow at Highland Memorial Gardens, Ahoskie, NC 27910

Memorial contributions may be made directly to the St John’s Baptist Church, 1644 NC Highway 461, Ahoskie, NC 27910 or by clicking here.

Garrett-Sykes Funeral Service – Ahoskie Chapel is handling the arrangements for the Burkett family and online condolences can be directed to the family by visiting

Service Information

Visitation Information

Date: Saturday, February 2, 2019

Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Garrett-Sykes Funeral Service of Ahoskie

205 NC Highway 42 W
Ahoskie, NC 27910

Service Information

Date: Sunday, February 3, 2019

Time: 3:00 pm


St. John Baptist Church

1644 NC-461
Ahoskie, North Carolina 27910

Pastor Doug Van Niel officiating

Cemetery Information

Date: Sunday, February 3, 2019


Following the service at Highland Memorial Gardens

US 13 South
Ahoskie, NC 27910

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