A loving tribute to a life well lived
Charles Burchett, devoted husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather passed away March 1, 2019 at the age of 90 years.
Chuck was born in Clovis, New Mexico on February 13, 1929 to Jess and Nellie Burchett. He was the youngest of 8 children all whom have preceded him in death.
His family lived in New Mexico during the early portion of his childhood. His Dad provided for their large family by raising and selling fruit and produce. Although they never had much in the way of money or material things, the family was rich in love for each other. His father was a hard worker and his mom a deeply spiritual person, both qualities he inherited.
The family moved to Emmett Idaho where he attended grade school, then later moved to Boise for high school. In high school he was in the marching band and on the basketball team. Rare to brag, he was proud to tell us he was the “high point man” on the team.
While in high school at St Teresa’s Academy, he caught the eye of Jean Flaherty and a year after graduating from high school they were married. Their loving relationship of almost 70 years has been an inspiration to us all.
He served his country in the Idaho National Guard from 1949 until 1957. He served on active duty from 1951 to 1953 during the Korean War, stationed at Moody Air Force base in Georgia, then later to George Air Force Base in California.
In 1957 he became aware of a career opportunity to work for the Federal Aviation Agency as an Air Traffic Controller. He was accepted and was invited to the training center in Oklahoma City for the 6 months training program. It is a tribute to his self discipline and dedication that he was able to complete the program with only a high school diploma, while competing against classmates with college degrees.
His first assignment as an air traffic controller was to the Salt Lake Enroute Center. He was later assigned to Spokane, then back to Salt Lake. He was able to help in Long Island temporarily and then returned to Salt Lake, where he retired April 1983.
In doing the research for this obituary, family members became aware of a number of commendations and letters from pilots praising his skills, on one memorandum a pilot was quoted “The vectoring was excellent and the alignment perfect, the best I have ever received.” Because of his humble personality, we were not aware of all these extraordinary acts of service to the FAA, keeping pilots and passengers safe.
Never able to get the love of farming out of his system and needing something to keep the seven kids busy, Mom and Dad realized a life long dream of moving to an acreage out of the big city. So in 1970, out to rural West Jordan they went to a three acre homestead, complete with barn and pasture. While Mom was away visiting a dying brother in Boise, and based on the adage it’s better to get forgiveness than permission, Dad took the opportunity to fill the pasture and barn with the appropriate animals, dog, cat, cow, horse, chickens, rabbits, and other 4 legged creatures. This became his sanctuary away from the stresses that came with his job of making sure planes made it across country safely.
His love of the outdoors, brought him to the post retirement job of being a Campground Host near Jackson Hole Wyoming. Chuck and Jean spent several summers living out of a motorhome in the beautiful Wyoming mountains, where they were entertained by moose, chipmunks and the Bar J Wranglers, and of course, visits from several family members and friends.
Having their children raised and their working days behind them, Chuck and Jean enjoyed perhaps the best years of their lives foot loose and fancy free traveling in their motor home. Their adventures included many trips in which just the two of them would head out with no particular agenda or timeline. If they found an interesting spot they’d stay awhile until they were ready to move on to someplace else. Dad used to say a good spot to camp had to have wood, water and grass.
The joy and adventure of those traveling years became more difficult to continue as his health issues progressed. He resigned himself to the reality that he’d need to stick closer to home. These final few years have been spent reflecting and growing more deeply in his relationship and devotion to God. With physical activity limited, he spent a lot of time reading various religious books, praying and becoming closer to God.
As his health declined over the past few months, he became more and more limited and less able to enjoy doing some of the things he once enjoyed. In his final few days, he endured many discomforts as he struggled to keep breathing. Through all of this he showed us how to suffer with dignity and acceptance. He used his final few days teaching and encouraging us to pray St. Faustina’s Chaplet of Divine Mercy, a prayer that he was particularly devoted to (Google it).
He leaves behind a grieving but grateful and proud family.
He is survived by his loving wife, Jean and the following children, grand children and great grand children:
Tom and Rose Burchett and children:
Monica Brinkerhoff and children: Olivia, Max
Matt (deceased August 13, 2018) and Heather Burchett and son: Griffin
Dom and Jill Burchett and children: Ivy, Tommy, Allison, Ruby
Gina (Prema) Zipp and children: Nitai, Nimai
Jerry and Cynthia Burchett and children:
Sarah (Zack) Gondek and children: Miles, Charlie
Laura (Jeremiah) Sasala and children: Jerry, Matthew
Ken and Veola Burchett and children:
Stephanie (Phillip) Schmitz and children: Samantha, Stanton
Michele (Keith) Foust and children: Gabrielle, Alexa
Brian (Emma) Burchett and daughter: Julia
David (Amy) Burchett and children: William, Jonathon
Ann Burchett-Hilliard and daughter: Hailey
Jeanmarie (Hung) Gee and children: Preston, Lillian, Sofia
A vigil service and rosary will be held from 6:00-6:30 PM followed by an open house from 6:30-8:00 PM on March 7, 2019 at St. John the Baptist, 300 East 11800 South, Draper. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday, March 8, 2019 at 11:00 am also at the church. Chuck will be laid to rest next to his beloved Grandson Matthew Burchett at Eastlawn Memorial Hills, 4800 North 650 East, Provo following the Mass.
The family would like to express their sincerest thanks to the staff at AltaView and Landmark Hospitals for the wonderful care he received the last few days of his life.
Please check back soon for tribute slideshow.