Vanessa Burkett was born April 29, 1958 to Richard Baldwin and (the late) Ernestine Baldwin in Brooklyn, New York. She was the eldest of her four siblings. Vanessa attended Walt Whitman Junior High School where she met the love of her life and her future husband Charles Burkett, Jr. (affectionately known as “Dobie”). She also attended John Dewey High School, and later graduated from The College of New Rochelle with a degree in Psychology.
On June 28, 1980, Vanessa married her childhood sweetheart Charles Burkett, Jr. (she called him “My Dobie”). From their union came three children: Jasmin (affectionately known as her precious child), Violet (known as her love child) and her son Charles Burkett, III (her pride and joy known as her Stinker).
Vanessa had a passion for teaching children. She opened and operated her own day care center for many years. Her thirst was not quenched, so she went back to school and obtained the necessary degrees to teach with the New York City Board of Education. She taught at Public School 372 -- “The Children’s School” in Brooklyn.
Vanessa also served as a faithful Deacon at First Baptist Church of Crown Heights. She sang on the choir, and wore many hats. She was an awesome cook and baker (known for cakes). She was a fashion diva -- always runway ready even when she was just going to the mailbox.
Vanessa leaves to cherish her memories, her husband of forty years Dobi; her three children: Jasmin (Reggie) Blakey, Violet, Charles, III (Chaka) Burkett; ten grandchildren: Tiara, Brionni, Reginald, Corey, Jessica, Trevonne, Reginald, III, Reginald Joshua, Teniyah and Charlie Hope; her father Richard (known as Dickey (Edith)), her sister Celeste (Ray); her brother Gary (Andrea); a sister-in-law Janine (Maurice), brothers-in-law: Erik (Bridgette), Tarone and Willie (Gloria); and a host of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. She also leaves fond memories with her spiritual mother Sandra Greenwich; her spiritual brother and sister: Ron and Edith Newman; and her BFF Felice Carter-Rucker.
Vanessa was a selfless, beautiful, smart, kind and loving person whose smile would light up a room. She will be greatly missed!
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