Annie Mae Gattis Burnett was born November 18, 1926 to the late Sidney Monroe Gattis and Martha Williams in Orange County, North Carolina. She departed this life to enter into eternal rest on July 5, 2023. Known to many as "Aunt Mae Mae", "Mae Mae" or simply "Moma" she was taught at an early age to love all people; this became her "life guide". At 96 she was the oldest matriarch of both the Burnett and Gattis families and the great, great, great granddaughter of the slave Harriet Smith through her grandmother Mary Kay Kirby family lineage.
Annie Mae was preceded in death by her devoted husband John A. Burnett (1977), her beloved son, Darryl Kilpatrick Brittian (2012), her cherished sister, Marthenia "Gran" Fearrington (2020), an infant brother Sidney Gattis Jr (1928), as well as several sisters and brothers in-laws.
Annie Mae's formal education was thru Orange Country Training School. However, her best education came from lessons and wisdom from her maternal grandparents, Lonnie Williams and Mary Kay Kirby while on Chatham County farms. She credited these times with cultivating and nurturing her love of cooking. A love that served her well throughout her life, for she was known for her cooking! Cakes, pies, chicken and dumplings, smothered pork chops, cubed steak…um...um. Love of cooking, caring for children and elders guided her work outside the home. Many Chapel Hill families remember Mae Mae fondly; like the "Hudson boys" Chris and "Fitz" (deceased), and Ms. Irene Rosenfeld's who become one of Mae Mae's close friends.
Young Annie Mae attended service at Chapel Hill's First Baptist Church on North Roberson Street and later transferred to Hamlet Chapel CME Church when she married US Army veteran John Abe ("John A.") in 1947. She served on Hamlet's Usher Board, Stewardess Board, Adult Choir, Senior Choir, Willing Workers Club, and was the President of the Missionary Society. Mae Mae was also the last member of the original "Joy Bells", Hamlet Chapel's touring choir. Annie Mae was also a member of the Eastern Star Randolph Chapter 185. Over the years Mae Mae and John A. opened their home and hearts to so many, starting with Mae Mae's twin siblings William and Wilma (Gattis) Brittian, and later extended their generosity and raised three nephews as their own; Larry Fearrington, James Brittian and Darryl Brittian (deceased). Annie Mae leaves many loved ones and friends to celebrate her amazing life and cherish her memories. Her children: Larry (Susan) Fearrington of Oxford, MA, James F. (Belinda) Brittian of Durham, NC. Her Grandchildren: Jennifer Fearrington of Washington, DC, Charles (Kristina) Fearrington of Oxford, MA; Tremaine Brittian of Raleigh, Nikita Brittian of Raleigh, NC, and Alexandria (Ally) Brittian of Lawrence, KS. Her Great Grandchild: Naila Brittian of Raleigh, NC. In addition, Mae Mae leaves her siblings: Ella Pettiford of Queens, NY; William (Joy) Gattis of Carrboro, NC, and Wilma Brittain. Along with a host of nieces, nephews (least four generations of nieces/nephews) other relatives and friends. As her story started out, she was taught to love all and that she did! Her younger brother, William Gattis, best summed up the sister who raised him: "Mae cared for the people in her life with immeasurable grace, love and respect.