Pixley Funeral Home


Karen Ruth Burnett

October 16, 1924April 30, 2021

Karen Ruth (Carlyon) Burnett passed away on April 30, 2021, at the age of 96 while surrounded by family at her home in Georgia.

She was born Oct. 16, 1924, in Hancock, MI, to the late Harold and Ruth Carlyon, and grew up in nearby L’Anse before moving to Grand Rapids. She is survived by her eight children: Kathy Drossart, Anne Henry (Tom), David Burnett (Carol), Doug Burnett (Sandy), Donna Burnett, Patricia Burnett, Daniel Burnett (Shelly) and Michael Burnett (Karin). She is also survived by 24 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren, and 3 great-great grandchildren, all of whom adored her. Karen Burnett (nee Carlyon) was preceded in death by her husband, Donald G. Burnett; her sister, Esther; and her brother, Harry.

Karen earned a Bachelor’s degree in English from Kalamazoo College in the mid-1940s. It was there that she met Don when one of her friends decided at the last minute to forgo a planned date to a dance with him, and asked Karen to take her place. Karen and Don, who were married for 70 years before his passing in 2018, went on to attend regular reunions with their classmates for several decades.

Karen was a homemaker and looked after her eight children with great care. In her adult life, she lived in Southfield, MI, Rochester Hills, MI, The Villages, FL, and Columbus, GA. Karen had several passions, including writing poetry, shopping with her daughters, solving puzzles, listening to music and dancing, playing golf, watching baseball, and knitting. She loved to feed and watch wildlife wherever she lived. She enjoyed making children feel special and developed lifelong friendships with a wide range of people. She was regarded as a funny, charismatic, spritely, sharp, adventurous, patient and caring woman. Her kindness to both strangers and loved ones will be a large part of her enduring legacy.

Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, May 15, at Pixley Funeral Home, 322 University Drive in Rochester, MI. The family will begin receiving friends at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at Greenwood Cemetery in Birmingham, MI.

Memorial donations can be made to Salesian Missions.


  • Harold & Ruth Carlyon, Parents (deceased)
  • Donald G. Burnett, Husband (deceased)
  • Kathy Drossart, Daughter
  • Anne Henry (Tom), Daughter
  • David Burnett (Carol), Son
  • Doug Burnett (Sandy), Son
  • Donna Burnett, Daughter
  • Patricia Burnett, Daughter
  • Daniel Burnett (Shelly), Son
  • Michael Burnett (Karin), Son
  • 24 Grandchildren, Unspecified
  • 19 Great-grandchildren, Unspecified
  • 3 Great-great grandchildren, Unspecified
  • Esther, Sister (deceased)
  • Harry, Brother (deceased)


15 May


10:00 am - 11:00 am

Pixley Funeral Home

322 W. University Dr.
Rochester, Michigan 48307


Karen Ruth Burnett

have a memory or condolence to add?

Julie Hunt-Juneau

May 7, 2021

My memory of Aunt Karen is that she seemed to be permanently in a good mood. Always patient, always kind, and never had a cross word when all of the cousins would get together (even though we probably deserved it). Thank you for being a great role model, and for raising 8 wonderful humans I am proud to call my cousins.
May you Rest in Peace

Love to all,