Marge Hartnett lived each day to the fullest


Ever smiling, gregarious and lovable, Coral Gables own Marge Hartnett lived each day to the fullest always bringing laughter with her. Her passing at 95 is a loss for a community she loved dearly.

A member of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce since 1947, Marge was hard to miss with her glassless frames to match every outfit and her vivacious personality that charmed all who met her.

Born in South Dakota, her family moved to Nebraska when she was 2, and thus she became a proud Cornhusker. Schooled in Nebraska, she taught there for three years and was a women’s counselor at an airplane plant during WW II.

Awoman of so many talents her career revolved around her ability to sell, communicate and teach. She had a variety of interesting jobs that suited her affable nature including being social director for a cruise line and two hotels, working with Burdines and Tiffany, and teaching adult education classes on public speaking, sales and creative writing.

Offers of marriage came and went before Marge finally married Fred. B. Hartnett, a former Mayor of Coral Gables, in 1976. They were happily married for 20 years until her husband’s passing.

Marge Hartnett contributed much to the community through non profit involvement and was honored last year with the Coral Gables Chamber’s Cornerstone Award. She was a true community pioneer who mentored so many.

Marge was co-founder of the Young Republican Party of Dade County, a 53- year member of the University of Miami’s Women’s Cancer Society, a 55-year member of the Tropical Rose Society, and a Natives of Dade Pioneer for 35 years. For 31 years she was active with the Coral Gables Citizens Patrol and also was involved for decades with the UM Baseball Darlings, the South Florida Emerald Society and other organizations.

Marge even served as a volunteer ambassador for Baptist Health South Florida and could be found at Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre enjoying every opening night show.

Marge Hartnett was part of the fabric of Coral Gables and has left in her wake such wonderful happy memories. This “Rose Lady,” as she liked to be called, lives on with the many people she counseled, befriended and loved.

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A graduate of the University of Florida with a major in Spanish, Burns has an extensive background in advertising, marketing and reciprocal trade, travel as well as non profit consulting and management. Burns' volunteer activities led her to become a columnist writing Gloria’s Gab, a column that focuses on the non-profit activity. Burns was Executive Director of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee for 6 years and then served as the first Executive Director of Coral Gables Community Foundation for 14 years after which she helped the emerging Community Foundation of Pinecrest. Active in many non profits, she received the 2011 Florida Federation of Women’s Club Volunteer of the Year for the District 11 and the Rotarian of the Year Award. Among her list of current responsibilities, Burns co-chairs two annual student recognition breakfasts for the Coral Gables Friends of Education, co chairs the Doral Business Council Forum and is a DBC Ambassador, is Parliamentarian and serves on the board of the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club and is on the board of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables and sings in the choir of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church. She can be reached at

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