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Dr. John H. Burkhardt passed away at the Olympic Medical Center on January 20, 2014, surrounded and cared for by people who loved him. He was 71.
Dr. Burkhardt was a longtime resident and physician in Port Angeles. He helped bring many babies into this world and touched countless lives with his generosity, kindness and patience.
John's early years were spent in Southern states, Tennessee and Florida in particular. After graduating from Vanderbilt University in 1964, he began his professional training at Baylor Medical School in Houston, Texas. This was followed by internship and residency at the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center in Portland, Oregon.
Throughout the 1970s, John worked at hospitals in New Zealand and Kenya, and on a naval vessel as a flight surgeon during the Vietnam War.
Additionally, he was head of obstetrics/gynecology at the LBJ Tropical Medical Center in American Samoa. He described this time as a wonderful two years.
He also, with his former wife, Pat Armstrong, became the father of two lovely daughters, Jennifer and Laura. In 1979, the family moved to Port Angeles, which had been his home ever since.
Despite — or because of — calling the chilly Northwest his home, John was attracted to the tropics: warm water, fishing, scuba diving and, most of all, sailing. Ocean voyages took him to many far away places: New Zealand, many islands in the Pacific, the Bahamas and the Caribbean among them, and to places as near as Neah Bay and Vancouver Island.
This marine wanderlust prompted several retirements and returns to medical practice, but he always came home to Port Angeles. Here, he spent his retirement years playing the piano, working on "the lower 40," riding the Kubota, sailing with his best friend Mark, lavishing his grandchildren with love and attention, watching the birds at the beautiful home he shared with his wife, Candy, and planning his next adventure.
John is survived by his wife, Candace Burkhardt, whom he happily described as "a hoot"; his daughters, Jennifer and Laura; brothers Michael and Ted; and many extended family members, grandchildren and friends.
In a recent biography for his 50th high school reunion, John wrote: "Health is good for an old man; life is good. I have so much to be thankful for!!"
We are thankful, too, for the time he spent with us.
Published in The Peninsula Daily News on Jan. 26, 2014