John J. Burgess was born to Joseph H. and Laura C. Burgess in Cresco, Iowa, on Aug. 9, 1924. He passed away on June 27, 2015, in Bozeman, Montana, at the age of 90.
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John graduated from Cresco High School and enrolled in the University of Iowa. His schooling was interrupted by World War II. John served in the Army – Air Corps, stationed in the India-Burma Theater. He returned to the University of Iowa, graduating with a B.A. degree in Business and Political Science. While at Iowa, John became a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. John also met the love of his life, Ellen C. Horner, while attending the university.
John and Ellen were married April 23, 1949, in Des Moines, Iowa. They returned to Cresco where John became a retail lumberman with Burgess and Sons, a small family-owned lumber chain. This is where he spent all of his working career. While living in Cresco, John served as President of the Kiwanis Club, Chamber of Commerce, and Cresco Industrial Development. In addition, he was active in the First Congregational Church, the Howard County Fair board, and the Cresco Public Library. John was a member of the American Legion and VFW.
John was an avid golfer, winning the championship at the Cresco Country Club, and scoring various holes-in-one over the years. He also enjoyed fishing and being a spectator of sports of all kinds, especially college football!
John and Ellen retired to Bluewater Bay in Niceville, Florida, where they lived an active life for 26 years. In 2012, he moved with his wife, Ellen, to Aspen Pointe in Bozeman, where he continued to be active.
John is survived by his wife, Ellen, of Bozeman; daughter, Kathy (Robert) Martin of Twin Bridges, Montana, and Idaho Falls, Idaho; and five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Margy Peterson, sister, Jane Ferguson, and his parents.
A Celebration of John's Life will be held in the Aspen Pointe Chapel at Hillcrest Senior Living in Bozeman on Aug. 8, 2015, beginning at 2 p.m. Military rites will be conducted and a reception will follow.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of John J. Burgess to the MSU Foundation, P.O. Box 172750, Bozeman, MT 59717-2750; or Bozeman Deaconess Foundation (memo line: Hospice), 931 Highland Blvd, Ste. 3200, Bozeman, MT 59715.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on July 22, 2015