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MISSION VIEJO, Calif. — Mary Alice Burnett passed away Monday, Nov. 19th in Mission Viejo, California

Mary Alice was born on April 7, 1926, in Milford, Connecticut, the oldest daughter and second of four children. Her parents were Clarence I Platt and Helen Grace Forbush Platt.

She grew up in Milford and attended Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. She graduated with honors with a BA in Psychology.

She worked for a time near Princeton University and then in New York City where she met her soon to be husband Jack Burnett on a blind date.

After a whirlwind courtship the two were married on July 14, 1950, in her parent’s backyard in Milford.

Approximately one year after the birth of their first child, Becky, they moved from New York to Billings. Here Mary Alice’s (M.A to her friends) path would change.

She became very active in both the swim lesson program at the Billing’s YMCA and the Billing’s Tennis Community. At the YMCA she started as a volunteer and it didn’t take her long to become the Director of Aquatics. She loved working with children and helping them learn to swim.

She is listed on the Billings Tennis Association’s Wall of Fame as a Player of Distinction. M.A. along with her husband Jack enjoyed many hours on the tennis courts. She won both the Billings City Women’s Division as well as the Montana State Women’s Singles Division several times. She even teamed up with Jack to win a few tournaments. More than winning tournaments. Mary Alice enjoyed the wonderful, life long friends she made on the court. She played tennis until she was 82.

Along with her tennis, and Aquatic Director position M.A. served as the student interviewer for Wellesley College for several years. Young women interested in Wellesley from five states traveled to her home to complete an in-person interview. She met with students from Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, North and South Dakota.

With all three of her children in school, she once again embarked on a new adventure. She applied to and was accepted into the master’s degree program for P.E. at what was then Eastern Montana College. During this time, she became the Women’s Head Gymnastics Coach.

Somehow, she found time to knit gifts for her friends and was particularly known for making baby sweaters for friends, their families.

Mary Alice is survived by her three children, their children, one great grandchild and her sister Helen Grace Higgs. Becky Smothermon, Wes, Troy Smothermon, Tana Ashton, Bodhi Ashton – great grand child, Brad Burnett Nancy, Christopher, Kyle, Nathan, Boyd Burnett Jackson.

If you wish to make a donation in Mary Alice’s name, please do so to the Disabled American Veterans Organization.

The Family will hold a 'Celebration of Life' gathering in April. Details will be provided at another time.

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