Elmer W. Burnette, Jr., Colonel, USAF (Ret) DDS, self named "The Great One", passed away Friday, Nov. 9th at the age of 91. Born in Odessa, Florida, December 14, 1920, he was the only child of Dr. Elmer Wiggins Burnette and Mary Harkness Pettigrew. Raised in Tarpon Springs, Florida, Elmer was a graduate of Florida Southern University and Emory University School of Medicine. While at Emory, he met and married Rebecca Anne Benton of Monticello, Georgia. Elmer and Becky enjoyed 60 years of marriage, traveled together and raised four daughters, who have become best friends. As a military family, they made lifelong friends from their stations in San Angelo, San Antonio, Ramstein AFB Germany, and Andrews AFB. He served our country in Casablanca during the Korean War
, and the camaraderie he experienced convinced him that the military life was his future. His love of teaching, research,and his profession of Periodontics led him to retire from the Air Force in the early 1970's to join the faculty of the UTHSC in San Antonio. After his final retirement in 1998, he and Becky enjoyed extensive travel and an active social life with their dear friends, cut short by Becky's untimely death in 2000. Dr. Burnette is survived by his daughters: Pat Ferguson (husband Larry) of May, Texas; Dianne Casson (husband Wayne) of Del Rio and San Antonio; Susan Nebel (husband Greg) of Del Rio, Texas; and Edie Bergeron (husband Tom) of Flint, Texas; 10 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren; also, his dear friend Barbara and his devoted housekeeper Maria, who served the family over 20 years.
Elmer will be remembered not only for his accomplishments, which were many, but for his wicked sense of humor, called "Elmerisms"; his love of golf (he boasted of playing over 130 golf courses in 9 countries and 16 states); bridge and poker clubs and fine music. He read at least 3 books a week and instilled a love of reading in his children. In his last years he began crafting vintage model aircraft for his grandchildren and friends, which will be cherished momentos for them. The family wishes to acknowledge with gratitude Dr. Robert Parker, who treated Elmer with dignity and respect in his final days. Also we thank his devoted neighbor, Paul Matthews, who was the truest of friends. We know that our parents are reunited in heaven and dancing in the light of Jesus. Rest in peace, Daddy.
Services will be held at First Baptist Church of Boerne, TX at 2:00 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12, with reception to follow at the fellowship hall. Burial with full military honors will take place at 9:45 a.m. Friday, Nov. 16, at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First Baptist Church of Boerne, 631 S. School St., Boerne, TX 78006.
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