Jeanette Burke Sawyer

January 27, 1924 - January 3, 2020


We are pleased to announce the promotion of Jeanette Burke Sawyer to an exciting new position in which to begin her encore career!

Ms. Sawyer gave us her notice in the early hours of January 3, 2020, just shy of the 96th year in her current position.  She received a call, an offer really, that she just couldn’t refuse and presented her resignation to us immediately.

Her previous experience began in Oak Park, Georgia on January 27, 1924.  She quickly ascended the ranks after her first transfer to the Vidalia, Georgia and Fort Myers, Florida offices respectively.

In her early career, she accomplished numerous achievements – that of a wife to Jennings Bryan Sawyer, mother to Donna Jean (Young), Jennings Bryan Sawyer Jr., and Thomas Edgar Sawyer (yes, she named her red-headed son, Tom Sawyer – the first of many zingers she would deliver over the years), florist for her beloved Russel Park Baptist church, and head nurse for the Emergency Room as well as the Cardiology Department at Lee Memorial Hospital – a position she held for over 35 years.  A formidable woman, both physically and temperamentally, she became known as “The Bouncer” of the ER during her graveyard shifts on weekends.  There wasn’t a cantankerous drunk or arrogant young EMT who would dare to take on Ms. Jeanette and come away unscathed.

Being the brilliant businesswoman that she was, she received her last major advancement, to that of Upper Management, approximately 20 years ago.  This provided her with a fully supportive staff to meet all of her needs, consisting of her previously mentioned adult children, Donna, Bryan, and Tom; sisters Grace Williamson and Shirley Browning; son-in-law Robert Young; daughter-in-love Linda Santillana; grandchildren Burke and Heather Young; and great-grandson Jacob Young, all of whom she leaves behind, but who absolutely doted on, and cared for, her.

While we would love to maintain Ms. Sawyer in her current position, the offer she has received is just not something we can match in either salary or benefits. 

It comes with a huge sign-on bonus (she’s basically royalty now – her new boss is a King, in fact), a reunion with family and friends she has not seen in a long time (including her adoring husband J.B.; her siblings Inez, Herman, and Vernon; and her fur-granddaughters Rachel and Chance), total job security (she’s truly set for eternity), and a compensation package that is outrageous (we haven’t heard any specifics, but the place is literally paved in gold, so it *has* to be at least six-figures).

Her relocation takes her to an outstanding locale where she has been granted an unprecedented housing situation (her new employers have lovingly prepared a place just for her) where she will be able to crochet, sing, garden, do word searches, watch Gaither Videos (or just pop in at Vestal’s for an afternoon concert), and nap to her heart’s content.  She’s even been given an all access pass to the executive supper club where they exclusively serve Farmer’s Market fried chicken, turnip greens, sweet potato casserole, and a Wendy’s frosty for dessert. And coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

The offer required an immediate move, but she did leave detailed instructions for her former staff and coworkers upon her exit – to be joyful in celebrating her new career, “behave (y)ourselves or I’ll jerk a knot in your fanny,” and “I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.” 

A formal going away party for staff (family) members only will be held and immediately followed by a small, intimate, and brief ceremony outdoors (with limited seating and room) on Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 11:30am at Lee Memorial Park.

Honoring a career of fiscal responsibility and frugality, Ms. Sawyer would not want anyone to waste money on flowers to celebrate her promotion.  Instead, she would be delighted if you took your family to dinner and a movie, enjoyed a southern gospel concert, had a nice meal at a locally owned restaurant, or made a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project, which honors disabled veterans, a cause she and her oldest son, are passionate about.

Her career with us was a full and happy one and we are honored to celebrate the dash in the gap between her first day with us and her last.  We encourage other companies (and families) to do the same.

Mullins Memorial Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Cape Coral, is entrusted with final care.


  1. Angela Crider Jan 6, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    Wow I have never heard such an amazing obituary! Knowing Jeanette, she would have been so proud and she would have had a great laugh! I didn’t know her as long as my husband has, but she definately made a huge impression on me. I will never forget the first time I met her. She gave me the biggest smile and a huge hug. She acted like she had known me for years. I know the ones closest to her will miss her dearly, but the reunion one day will be so sweet. What a legacy she has left for all of us to follow.. Until we meet again…see you later Jeanette!

  2. Lisa Mccormick Jan 6, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    I can hear aunt Jeanette laughing so hard at this. Wonderful job Heather!!! We will love her always and enjoy our promotion one day as well.

  3. Norma Griner Jan 6, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    Ms G (what I called her) know you are truly blessed and happy now, will miss our talks and hearing you say “girl I understand “. Enjoy your home and look for a visit from me one day

  4. Debra Campbell Jan 6, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    Wow Heather you definitely have a way with words! I’m sure Aunt Jeanette is enjoying this summary of her life. I praise God her spirit lives on and we will be together again.

  5. Alice pittman Jan 6, 2020 at 4:44 pm

    She was a great friend to me I Will miss her

  6. Stacy Sullen Jan 6, 2020 at 4:45 pm

    That was the most precious and very accurate memorial for our dear friend 💗You will be missed but we are jealous that you have now hugged the neck of our King! We love you sweet lady!

  7. John &.Norita Moss Jan 6, 2020 at 5:27 pm

    Love Miss Jeannette obit Glad she found such an amazing job offer Sending prayers of joy for her beloved family Amen Amen John & Norita Moss

  8. Deborah Stancel Cooke Jan 6, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    I knew her when I was a kid…going to school with her boy. She lived next door to my aunt and uncle on marsh ave. My mother thought the world of her and all us kids loved her. Rest on peace Ms Jeanette…..Deborah Stancel Cooke

  9. Mary Guianen Jan 6, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    Wonderfully said Heather! She would have loved this. She will be sadly missed by all who knew her. Thoughts and prayers to you and the whole family.

  10. Kim Baker Jan 6, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    This is excellent. Congrats Ms.. Jeanette on this promotion. I’m SO happy for you! We love and miss you ’round here! xoxo

  11. Adah Ashley Jan 6, 2020 at 8:37 pm

    I called Jeanette every other day for almost 12 yrs.and almost every time she would say I was just thinking of you and than you call me.We got to be good friends and lot about her life. She told me she felt I was part of her family.I’m going to miss more than I can say.

  12. Phyllis McPherson Jan 6, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    I was Blessed to meet, and ultimately love this wonderful woman, many years ago! She would visit her daughter, Donna, who was a secretary at Evangelical Christian Preschool, where I too was employed. Jeanette always had a Beautiful Smile! She will definitely be missed, but never forgotten, by all who knew her!

  13. Phyllis Swagler Sutherland Jan 6, 2020 at 9:30 pm

    A wonderfully gifted and blessed saint that will be missed by many. Her service to our Lord is an inspiration to all. What a precious obituary reflecting her life of years of loving others.

  14. m anderton Jan 6, 2020 at 9:33 pm

    A beautiful written obit and what a great promotion with so may benefits.

  15. Sheila Shepard Jan 7, 2020 at 6:16 am

    Wonderful lady Ms. Jeanette, the room was lit up with sunshine when she walked in. She was and will always be a special blessing from my years with her at Lighthouse Baptist Church. She would be so pleased with this beautiful writing of her life, precious.

  16. Bert and Carol Williams Jan 7, 2020 at 9:17 am

    Jeanette’s smile and beautiful personality lighted up wherever she happened to be. I have loved and admired her for many years. From Russell Park Baptist Church to Lee Memorial Hospital. I am rejoicing you are in your permanent home. Your smile is lighting up heaven.

  17. Dianne Thomas-Secord Jan 7, 2020 at 9:51 am

    We love you, Jeanette…congratulations on your next adventure!

  18. Jeanne Henshaw Jan 7, 2020 at 3:17 pm

    Jeannette ,you were truly one of a kind. I loved you immediately after meeting you. Your beautiful smile and hugs emanated the warmth of your heart. I will always treasure the crochet dish liquid cover you gave me so “I would never forget you. ” I could never forget you and look forward to seeing you again in heaven.

  19. Laurie Raybuck Claypool Stancel Jan 7, 2020 at 5:32 pm

    Beautiful lady inside and out. Enjoyed being taught by her @ Russell Park Baptist Church when I was a youth. Never forget when Jeanette, Ester and Sybil took me Snipe hurting on our youth retreat. She helped my mom and mother in law decorate the church and fellowship hall for my first wedding. Great promotion and enjoy the reunion. I will hold onto the memories until we meet again

  20. Lisa Thomas Jan 7, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    Jeanette was such a sweet lady and a wonderful friend to my mother!

  21. Vanessa Jones Jan 9, 2020 at 8:08 am

    My Beautiful friend you will be missed by many but I’m grateful for our once a month lunch we shared and the sweet conversations you truly take your well deserved rest with your King I will cherish the memories we shared.

  22. Kathleen Stilwell Jan 9, 2020 at 5:23 pm

    I will miss Jeannette – my friend and church pew buddy. She always told me “I feel like I’ve known you all my life.” When I told her I loved her, she always said “I love you more.” I enjoyed singing old hymns with her. She could not see the hymn book, but she certainly knew many, many hymns by heart. I cherish the “hugs and kisses” lap quilt she crocheted for me when she was 94 years old. When she came into a room, she lit up the room with her smile! I know she’s in heaven loving on everyone up there.

  23. Kathleen vereen Dayton Apr 5, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    What can I say about my aunt Jeanette…it has all been said right here by all of you. Heather…i thought I was the writer in the family but you captured so perfectly the heart and soul and true personality of the aunt I remember so fondly. I’m so sorry to have been out of touch with no contact info for any of you for the past several years and just found out yesterday about my dear aunt’s promotion yesterday. I can just see her in the garden with uncle Jennings and our saviour. I mostly remember her sense of humor and how our home came to life when she and j. B. And the boys came to visit… once brought your curlers…my mother especially loved her..the sisters in law met w around the time each of them was expecting a baby just days apart in August 1956…me and Tom. I also remember driving down to Florida to visit everyone on marsh ave. Aunt jeanette made everything fun…she had a joy about her that is unforgettable. Sending love from all of us in sc until we meet again.

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