Chesterton Tribune



John Burnett shuffles of this mortal coil at age 80

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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 Porter, Indiana.

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 this time.

Arrangements were 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


Posted 1/4/2017




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