Billie Mae Burkart (Mays) born April 4, 1930 in Corbin, Kentucky. Died in her home peacefully, Sept 5, 2020 in Villa Hills, KY surrounded by her loving family. She is preceded in death by, Husband of 55 years, James A. Burkart, parents, William & Mae Mays, sisters, Mildred Taylor and Goldie Hunt. She is survived by four children; son, Jeffrey (Deborah), daughters, Jennifer Peterson (Jim), and Jean Tringale (Robert) and son, Jon (Debbie), their 22 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren and sister, Lynn Hice and many beloved nieces, nephews and cousins.
Arrangements by Newcomer Funeral Home - Northern Kentucky Chapel.
Services to be held at Heritage Fellowship 7216 U.S. 42 Florence, KY Visitation Wed, Sept 9 2pm-4:30pm. Funeral Service to follow at 4:30pm.
Billie Mae moved to her beloved Middlesboro, Kentucky with her family, at one year old where she lived until she was 8. It was then that her family moved to Covington, Kentucky. She went to Dixie Heights High School and worked various jobs including Dalton’s Women‘s Dress Shop, Coppin’s Dept Store, Pappa’s Candies and several jobs in between.
Early in 1953 she met her beloved husband, Jimmy and they fell in love instantly and on April 17, 1953, they eloped to Corbin and were married by her Uncle, Rev. Lynn Mays. They were married for 54 years, 11 months and 13 days before Jimmy went to heaven on her birthday, April 4, 2008.
Billie Mae was extremely active in her children’s lives and education and served as the President of the Boone County PTA. She was very proud of this work and loved being involved with helping young people. She began her writing career in 1963 at the Dixie News with a weekly article called the World of Beauty and soon became the Women’s Editor and a Staff Photographer. In that same year, she began representing Viviane Woodard Cosmetics which would continue for almost 30 years. Because of her heart to help women achieve their full potential, she developed a class at the Vocational School for young and middle aged women who had dropped out of school and were having trouble getting a job. She taught them how to dress for a job and how to conduct themselves in job interviews.
Billie’s newspaper column for women quickly expanded to include human interest stories and then a community news column as well as interviews with Governors and local officials. In 1964 Billie Mae started a radio program at WHKK-FM which went hand in hand with her newspaper column and included her travels in the tri state area to interview celebrities who came into town for concerts or tv programs. She quickly became the “Girl On The Go” which was the name of her popular radio show and continued on to WEBN and WQMS until 1971. She interviewed many celebrities in the entertainment industry as well as politicians, authors and dignitaries.
Billie then became a freelance instructor and lecturer to educational institutions, business organizations and corporations.
In 1974 Billie Mae became the Marketing Director for the TRANSIT AUTHORITY of NKY (TANK) and was key in 1975, to successfully getting the tax levy passed for TANK To continue operating for our communities. She also created a Tour Department for TANK among many other accomplishments to improve the Transit Authority.
In 1975 Billie was very proud to become an Honorable KY Colonel and in 1976, an Associate Member of the Public Relations Society of America.
She then worked at Gidding Jenny, a designer department store in Cincinnati for a few years and loved every minute of it!
Billie was a founding member of the Covington-Cincinnati Suspension Bridge Committee in 1987 and was instrumental in getting the flags placed on the bridge, with the committee becoming the “Keeper of the Flags” in years to come and later, to get the beautiful lights on our famous Roebling Bridge. She was very proud of this work and a plaque with the committee’s names is on the bridge to this day, recognizing the committee’s work.
She also served on the Board of Directors for the Women’s World newspaper as well as being one of its contributing writers.
In 1981 she began working at Heritage Fellowship as the pastor’s secretary, even though she couldn’t type! But her presence was most needed to help those calling or stopping in for prayer or help. She continued volunteering at the church for a few years.
In 1987, Billie opened a dress and bridal consignment shop called Billie’s Consigning Women located in Florence, later in Burlington and finally in Erlanger. She operated this shop for over 20 years and developed close friendships with many of the brides and their families.
Billie retired in 2007 to spend more time with her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She loved being with her extended family and friends and sharing her love of Jesus to everyone. She was a strong force in her family and community of friends and will always be remembered as having a kind and encouraging word and beautiful smile for everyone she encountered. She will be so greatly missed by everyone who knew her. She was known as one of the ‘great ladies’; a woman of class, grace, beauty, wit and most of all love.