Mary Jo Burnell

October 9, 1958May 22, 2019

Ms. Mary Jo Burnell passed away at home on Wednesday, 22 May 2019. She worked for MLC/IMMC/ALC from 1984-2011 in Precision Fires Missile Systems and Aviation Systems,Cargo Pubs, then worked for U.S Army Materiel Command Logistic Support Activity (LOGSA) from 2011 until her retirement in May 2015. Mary Jo’s family have taken her ashes back to Knoxville for a private ceremony. Her family plans to come back to Huntsville for a Celebration of Life luncheon with friends. This will be held on Saturday, June 22, 2019 from 2:00pm until 5:00pm at Blue Plate Café - South Parkway, 7540 Memorial Parkway SW, Suite E, Huntsville, AL 35802. Please leave fond memories of Mary Jo at Valhalla's website These tributes will be read at the luncheon. Friends at the luncheon are encouraged to share any memories they might want to share of Mary Jo.


22 June

Celebration of Life Visitation

2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Blue Plate Cafe - South Parkway

7540 Memorial Parkway SW
Suite E
Huntsville, Alabama 35802


Mary Jo Burnell

have a memory or condolence to add?

Mela Kirkwood

May 30, 2019

Mela Kirkwood

May 30, 2019

Mary Jo and I became friends after she sat down in the desk in front of me in a technical writing class at UTK. She invited me over to her house, fixed us grilled cheese sandwiches, and gave me some valuable lessons in child-care as I watched her interact with her nephew Justin. When I made a bad dating decision, she made a quiet observation, then wisely kept quiet when I insisted on plowing on ahead anyway, and for a wedding gift she gave me a ceramic magnolia blossom she’d made in her Mom’s shop. Later we both moved away-- she to write technical manuals, and I to critique essays; I broke the ceramic magnolia, she broke her ankle, and when my husband left, and she said he wasn't good enough for me anyway. When I told her I was coming to Huntsville for a conference, the timing was perfectly wrong because she was on her way to the figure skating nationals, but she told me to come stay at her house anyway, and she left me treats and instructions for things I should be sure to see and do while I was there. I arrived to find that she’d made her home such a pleasant, comfortable environment, that I would think of it often over the years. And it made perfect sense that she’d become such an avid fan of the most beautiful form of athletics. When we eventually came to know that we would both soon lose our beloved cats, we bought plush imitations of them, and then reassured each other that this was not a silly waste of money, and anyway it would’ve been impossible for the toy company to get their faces just right. I’ve long admired Mary Jo for her bravery to go places and do things, to have her photo made in a fairy-tale dress against a castle backdrop, to travel within the states and beyond. I’ve admired her life-long appreciation of beauty, and her ability to create it. And I’ve been the very grateful recipient of her kindness and her giving nature.

Carol Morales

May 28, 2019

I knew Mary Jo back in 2014 when I became acquainted and later quite obsessed with the ABC hit show Once Upon a Time and its eccentric character Mr. Gold, played by Robert Carlyle. Since then, there was hardly a week Mary Jo did not send my way a word of encouragement, cheerful joy, kindness and support through Facebook. We also shared the same taste in movies, the Scarlet O'Hara dresses fascination, and a soft spot for cats. When I lost my fur baby Dean Winchester, she cheered me up gifting me a T shirt of 'Old Ladies from the South' and a Warwick Roar Caledar, out of kindness of her tender heart. She did more for me than most people I see daily and for that I will be forever grateful, I will always keep a fond memory of her and will never forget how love and friendship can be found absolutely anywhere, anytime.
(rest assured Dean, mommie's friend will take care of you now!)

Jo Hamilton

May 28, 2019

You were the kindest person I've ever met Mary Jo. I cannot believe I'll never hear from you again. Thank you for years of friendship. ..I treasure them. Thank you for our marriage celebration plaque which we adore. RIP xx

Linda Frances

May 25, 2019

Beautiful Mary Jo in Las Vegas 2002

Mary Ann McMeans

May 25, 2019

I had the great privilege of friendship with Mary Jo. We met when we where neighbors in our townhouses on Chicamauga Trail. She would walk her dog, Sparky. We started going antique store shopping. We explored many small towns in North Alabama and Southern Tennessee. We shared each others good and sad events in our lives. She was so happy to buy her house and I was sad to see her move to the other side of town. She was so proud of her house. She had it repainted and I went furniture shopping with her. then she did the same with me when I moved. MJ was a very private and independent person. I would frequently take her for medical procedures and surgeries. She would always apologize profusely. Most recently she spent the night with John and me the night before her cataract surgery. She didn't want to inconvenience me by me picking her up at such an early hour to take her to surgery. MJ gave me a key to her house everal years ago to have in case of an emergency. I believe that she knew one day she would die alone and since I'm a nurse, she wanted me to be the one to find her. Then on Wednesday she was late for our lunch together. When I could not get her on the phone, I drove to her house and saw that her car was at her house. I new something was seriously wrong. When John and I found MJ in her garage I new she was gone and had been deceased for a while. Thank you Mary Jo for trusting me to be the one to find you. I know that you are now in a place where you are no longer suffering. You are with your parents and your brother who you loved and missed so much. God Bless you! Thank you for your love and friendship. I miss you dearly.
Mary Ann💖

Lottie H Ahderinne

May 24, 2019

I have lost a dear friend to me.
I got to know Mary Jo thru our common interest in a very fine actor,Robert Carlyle. We both admired him and there our friendship started. We became Facebook friends, I- a girl from Sweden and Mary Jo - a girl from Alabama . Half the World apart from each other,but our friendship grew and became strong thru cyber space. And maybe space was the thing too,b/c I have always been interested in space,astronomy and such,and she told me about the space center and how her father had been a part of it. We planned for me to some day visit her and she would show me the Huntsville Space I have decided that that trip is something I'm going to fulfill,in memory of my dear friend!
She also introduced me to her little white cat,Pete,and I introduced her to our kitty ,Astrocat. We talked so much on and off about them, catlovers as we were!
In June 2015 and again in December same year I come to meet Mary Jo in person! And it was love at first sight!
With her happy laughter and big hugs,though she was small in body.
Again, our common interest in Robert Carlyle joined us over a film premeiere of his film. Mary Jo Beautiful in her blue gala dress She said she is never good in pictures,but that picture I took of her that evening showed how Beautiful she truly was!
December that same year in Canada after another R.C film premeiere, we ended up in our hotelroom sharing a pizza and talking. She gifted me with a memory from that evening, a keychain with a pizza slice! Perfect and I looked at it today,and remembered that evening!
She was a beautiful soul in a troubled body. Always giving of herself to other!
We had hoped to meet up in London in July this year,but b/c of her being sick lately,she had to cancel her trip.
I haven't known her for that long,maybe 5 years, but it feels like a lifetime! My kind,beautiful ,witty friend with her cool sense of humor!
Rest in Eternal Peace my friend! Now you can cuddle with Pete again!

Love from Lottie

Lisa Pipes

May 24, 2019

I met Mary Jo back in 1985, when I started working for the Government. In 1988 she moved to our Branch and we became friends. And have stayed friends for the past 32 years - despite differing political and religious views and support for different SEC teams. We have shared many triumphs and losses over the years. I would like to share a few things that go thru my mind when I think about my years with Mary Jo.

She was one of a kind. When Mary Jo's name was mentioned, most folks got a little smile on their face. She was a fireball with a temper that was sort of unbelievable in such a small woman. She was extremely loyal and forgiving, even when she did not agree with you. Absolutely one of the most generous people you would ever hope to meet. She loved deeply, especially her family. She wrote a series of stories for her nephew Justin when he was small. They were about the adventures of a mouse named Joshua Mouse. These stories were really very good - Mary Jo would have loved to have been a children's author and she would have been very good in that field. As most know, she had a very whimsical side to her personality - a love of fairies and sprites - and she often said she was born in the wrong time period. If you look at her Facebook posts, you can see how she loved beautiful, delicate jewelry, especially opals. She loved to swim. She loved a good laugh and we all teased back and forth over many little things and had many little jokes over the years. We worked together on the same team for many years. As we moved into different jobs from our original pubs group, we all introduced our new friends to our old friends and broadened our group of acquaintances and friends. These last few years Mary Jo's health has not been so good and many days she just did not feel great or was tired.

We are so blessed that Mary Ann had plans to meet Mary Jo for lunch on Wednesday. So there is definitely something to be thankful for amid this sadness. Rest easy Mary Jo.

Linda Frances

May 23, 2019

I met Mary Jo in 1995 at the United States Figure Skating Championships in Providence, RI. She was not a skater but enjoyed attending the championships. Starting with the 1996 USFSA championships, we bought tickets together and shared a room each year all across the country. Birthdays, holidays -- always there for each other. She even visited me here to enjoy NYC, Broadway and dinners out. She got tired one night and I asked a doorman to let her sit in the lobby while I went to get the car (I slipped him $5). When I returned, Mary Jo had tales of sitting in Ariana Grande's lobby listening to the other tenants complain about Ariana's fans (Mary Jo slipped him $5). She got the full NYC experience! I am so happy to have shared her friendship over the years. Just the most caring person I could imagine. Rest in peace, Mary Jo. You will never be forgotten. Love, Linda