NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Burnece Walker Brunson, a former cheerleader and Tennessee State University alumna, has died. She was 102.
Family members said Brunson passed away at her home Sunday surrounded by family and friends.
“They were actually having prayer and holding her hands when she passed,” her great-niece Dawn Dopson said.
University president Glenda Glover said in a release that TSU lost a “jewel.”
“Ms. Brunson truly embodied the spirit of TSU,” Glover said. “We were blessed to have her with us for so many years, and especially as a symbol representing the legacy and proud tradition of the university.”
In 2012, at the age of 97, Brunson rejoined the cheerleading team for the university’s centennial homecoming.
Brunson was originally a member of TSU’s cheerleading squad from 1934 to 1935.
She received her teaching certificate in 1936, and eventually went on to earn a bachelor and master’s degree.
Brunson ultimately made Nashville her home and remained a fixture at homecoming parades and football games.
“It is home; it is family. My love for TSU has no end,” she said in a recent interview.
Brunson was also featured on ABC’s “Person of the Week” in 2016 for her longevity and TSU team spirit.
She was also co-grand marshal at the 2016 TSU homecoming, where she was honored at several events.
When asked what advice she would give people about life, Brunson said, “Do the right thing in every way.”
Funeral arrangements were not immediately released.