HARRINGTON - Keith S. Burgess passed away peacefully on Monday, March 31. 2014 with his wife and son by his side. He was born on Sept.17,1922 in Harrington to James Harvey Burgess and Kitty Leona Burgess. Keith served in the Merchant Marines during World War II, supporting US Troops in Europe, Africa and the Pacific. Immediately after the war, he was a Sergeant in the US Army Japan Occupation Forces. From as early as 1929 he began to be recognized as a singer performing in the Rabbit's Foot Minstrel and later as a soloist during his father's speaking engagements. .His beautiful tenor voice was well-known throughout Delaware as he continued singing until the last few days of his life. As a mail carrier he garnered the nickname "The Singing Mailman" and sang his way through a 12 mile walking route from 1948 until becoming a Rural Carrier in 1965. When he retired in 1984 the fun was just getting started for this fun loving energetic individual. He sang and acted in many musicals with The Community Singers and The Singing Players in Dover. Keith was the lead singer for the Asbury Quartet and several musical groups that he organized. He often entertained at community functions with his son Matt, and was a fixture at Karaoke shows well into his 80's. Besides his family and singing, Keith's other loves were the sports of Track and Field and Cross Country. He was a member of the Harrington and Lake Forest School Boards for 15 years. He was able to establish Track and Cross Country Teams at Harrington High School in 1957 and 1958. He then turned his attention to other schools such as Greenwood, Felton, Lord Baltimore and several others-convincing them to establish Cross Country Teams of their own. He was aptly named "The Father of Cross Country in Downstate Delaware". For over 30 years he has been the honoree at the Keith S. Burgess Track and Field Invitational -often singing the National Anthem and then handing out the Champions Medals. For nearly 50 years he wrote about the athletes in the Harrington Journal as well as acting as a chauffeur and recruiter for the sports. His awards include the 1975 Delaware Sports Club Coach of the Year, 1996 Herm Reitze Award, 2005 Jim Blades Service Award and in 2004 induction into The Delaware Track and Field Hall of Fame. Keith was proceeded in death by his parents; three brothers, Carrington, Winston, and Byron; as well as a sister, Melba. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Margaret Jane Burgess of Harrington; his son, Mathew Burgess; and three grandchildren, Emily Elborn, Keith S. Burgess II, and Alison Burgess. Memorial Service will be 2 p.m., Sunday, April 6, 2014 at Asbury United Methodist Church, Harrington. Interment will be at a later date. Arrangements are by the Melvin Funeral Home, visit our website at www.melvinfuneralhome.com for further information, leave a letter of condolence, or to send flowers.
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Published in NewsZapDE on Apr. 3, 2014
Melvin Funeral Home
15522 South Dupont Highway Harrington, DE 19952