Shirley Lee Gilbert Burton was born to the union of Henry and Irene Gilbert on July 24,1927. In New Orleans, Louisiana. On April 12, 2022, God spoke to his servant, Shirley and said, “Well done my good and faithful servant, enter the joy of the Lord.”
Shirley accepted Christ as her Savior and was baptized at an early age. She was a product of New Orleans Public Schools and an education graduate of Xavier University with a Masters from Tulane University in Early Childhood.
While at Xavier, Shirley started dating a young man named Arthur Burton, who caught her attention when they were in high school. They united in marriage July 6, 1953. Together they built their home and business on a corner street in Kenner, Louisiana which became known in the community as Burton’s Pharmacy and later Burton’s Good News Center.
Beyond being a place to pickup your prescription, pickled pig feet and rock salt candy, that corner drug store became the Center for community health, education, and governmental issues. Donna Brazile put it best in her book “Cooking With Grease” where she writes….
“ The leadership in the civil rights movement in my neighborhood came from
the Clay and Burton families.”
“ Burton Pharmacy became a gathering place for political news…”
Shirley spent 43 years as an elementary school teacher, shaping many of the young minds who later became our leaders. She began her teaching career in Hollywood, Florida where she taught at Chrispus Ahucks School followed by McDonogh, Veterans Evening Program at #35 High School, R.T. Danneel #2, Henry W. Allen School, Thomy Lafon School, McDonogh #36 and Judah P. Benjamin School, all in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Not only was she a teacher in elementary education but an advocate supporter of Sunday School. She loved God’s Word and believed in sharing His Word through teaching and coordinating many Sunday School lessons both as a teacher and superintendent.
Shirley served on many committees. She was appointed on the Forgotten Man’s Committee under the administration of Governor Edwards and International Year of the Child under Governor Dave Treen to name a few.
One of Shirley’s greatest contribution to the community was her election as the first female and African American elected to Kenner City Council in Jefferson Parish. Although she was a “First” it meant nothing to her without service. She had a voice and she used it for her community.
Shirley married Arthur Burton Jr. July 6,1953. Shirley and Arthur were inseparable. When you saw one, you saw the other. She leaves her husband of 69 years who she loved and adored. Although they had no biological children, Shirley reared, nurtured, loved and disciplined a host of nieces and nephews, school and community children.
Shirley was preceded in death by her parents: Irene and Henry Gilbert. She was the last survivor of eight brothers and sisters: Clarence Gilbert, Henry Gilbert, Willie Gilbert, Leon Gilbert, Jonas Gilbert, Randall Gilbert, Dean Gilbert and Edna Gilbert.
On April 12, 2022 Shirley transcended to her final home peacefully. Shirley lived what she believed “Only what you do for Christ will last.” Shirley has a lot lasting due to her love, and constant seeking of Christ will in her life. She cared for the children, the elderly, the veterans and anyone who expressed a need.
Shirley Lee Gilbert Burton, a good and faithful servant has entered the joy of the Lord.
Services are Tuesday April 19 at Pilgrim Baptist Church. Visitation is from 9am-10am with the services starting at 10am-11am. Mt. Olive Cemetery Repass 12:30-1:30.