John Burkey (1945 - 2018)

Caroline Harris

John made his journey to heaven at home with his wife Carolyn and son Christopher by his side on May 4, 2018. John was born in Fresno, California on February 4, 1945 into a military family. He lived in Texas, the territory of Hawaii, Germany and Florida. From the beginning, he was a Man of God and a servant to others. He started his higher education at William Carey College, a Southern Baptist School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Education. He then went on to get his Master's degree in the same field at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, where he would meet his wife, Carolyn Sue Urquhart. They would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on May 25, 2018. He later earned an Associate Degree in Electronics at the New River Community College in Dublin, Virginia.

John and Carolyn had two sons, Christopher and Michael. John served as a Minister of Education at two Baptist churches, one in Collinsville, Illinois and one in Pulaski, Virginia. He also worked at Jefferson Mills, a yarn processing company in Pulaski. The family then moved from Virginia to Hanford, California in 1979. He worked for Kings County there in data processing. The family then moved to Porterville in 1979. He retired from Beckman Instruments as the Information Systems Manager in 2011 after serving thirty-two years.

Among the many projects John was always working on, he volunteered for various organizations up until the end of his life. He worked on lighting and sound for the Barn Theater productions in Porterville for almost 20 years and also was on the Barn Theater Board of Directors. He was also a mentor to students in the Performing Arts Track at Harmony Magnet Academy, teaching how to use the sound and lighting equipment.

He was the audio technician at Hillside Community Church and implemented a training program for others to effectively use the sound system. John was a known audio expert and enjoyed using his skills to record performances by Sierra Vocal Arts Ensemble and local high school bands and choirs.

John was a pillar as a Burton School Board trustee for 25 years. John was instrumental in making significant improvements to the school such as implementing charter schools. He truly raised the standard of education in the school district. John dedicated his time to support students and staff. His contributions of leadership, knowledge and compassion will never be forgotten. The footprint he laid will forever be instilled throughout the Burton School District.

John was also an avid runner and completed multiple 5Ks. He also loved traveling with Carolyn and together they went to Europe, Great Britain, Japan and Mexico. John developed a special bond with his sons Christopher and Michael as they gained a passion and skill for electronic technology. The three of them were inseparable when they were working on a video or audio project.

His wife Carolyn was his constant caregiver as his health declined. He found joy and comfort at the Valley Adult Day Services. His family found such peace seeing him pass into heaven. He will be sorely missed but kept alive by all of our wonderful memories of him.

John was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Betty Burkey and also his son Michael, who passed away on May 19, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Carolyn, of fifty years who will miss her companion tremendously, his oldest son, Christopher, and his wife, Kerri, his daughter-in-law, Marie Burkey, and his three grandchildren, Alyson, Ella, and Jada. He was a supportive and loving brother to Patricia Snow, Linda Sheimo and David Burkey.

A 'Celebration of Life' Service will be held on Friday, May 11th at 10am at the Hillside Community Church, 1091 W Linda Vista Avenue, Porterville.

John's family wishes to say thank you for the many expressions of love, prayers and caring shown by so many during this difficult time.


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