After a cowardly
six-week battle with pneumonia, John Burnett, 80, shuffled off this mortal
coil on December 31, 2016.
He was born August
16, 1936, in Brownfield, Texas, a town he couldn't wait to escape from.
He is survived by
his sister, Carolyn, a true pain in the arse and a dire enemy until John
fled the small town for a slightly larger college town. With separation the
siblings discovered they actually liked one another and became friends.
The slightly larger
town, Lubbock, was still in Texas and after a stint at Texas Tech University
John fled further afield, eventually arriving at the University of Chicago.
From there he was dragged kicking and screaming to serve his country in
Alaska by, as John called him, Uncle Sugar. His reluctance did not keep him
from becoming a sharpshooter. In Alaska he seemed to mostly read books and
send home jokes about moose turds. His army buddies, able to see to the core
of John's character, awarded him a plaque with three moose turds on it.
After the Army he completed his bachelor's degree in English at Roosevelt
University in Chicago. From a young age until 1981, John had a hateful love
affair with alcohol. He began recovery in 1981. With sobriety came the
return of his personality, especially his somewhat twisted sense of humor.
In 1982 he met his
beloved, Susie (nee Hill). He fought valiantly for eight years against
marriage, finally succumbing in 1990, a year after they bought their home in
John had an
eclectic career, and he accomplished very little in his life. In Chicago he
worked for the National Opinion Research Council and then for Channel 11.
When he first got sober he worked at Bob's Newsstand at the top of the
stairs of the Randolph Street Metra station. Later on he became an
alcoholism counselor. When he and Susie moved to Indiana he became a
naturalist at Dunes State Park. John loved classical music, much to Susie's
dismay. One of the biggest mistakes of her life was to buy him a
stick-under-the-counter radio for the kitchen (since he was the chef of the
family). He had it tuned to WFMT ALL THE TIME. Eventually Susie, a pop, rock
and a country fan, learned to live with that. He also loved bluegrass music
for many years, and then defected to old-timey music. John himself plucked
at the guitar and mandolin, and sang; and he belonged to the Save the Tunes
Council in Chesterton, Indiana. Every January for 40 (?) years, John served
almost competently in the office of the University of Chicago Folk Festival,
misinforming and misdirecting callers. He was active in selecting many of
the acts for the festival.
Despite his flaws,
too numerous to mention, he will be sorely missed. Goodnight, sweet prince,
and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. There will be no services at
handled by Edmonds & Evans Funeral Home, 517 Broadway, Chesterton, IN 46304.
Cremation services provided by Heritage Crematory, Portage, IN. Online
condolences to the family may be made at