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Richard Burris

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Richard Burris Obituary
Burris, Richard "Smitty"

Richard Smith "Smitty" Burris, 83, Luxemburg, passed away at his home, with family by his side on Thursday, November 15, 2012, of heart failure.

He was born on May 17, 1929, in Madison, WI, the son of Kenneth & Nora Burris.

He graduated from Edgewood High School in Madison in 1948, and the University of Wisconsin Madison in Art Education in 1952.

On January 30, 1954, Richard married the love of his life, Bernice "Bunny" Mackin in Madison. Shortly thereafter he joined the US Army, serving in the Military Police first in Georgia then in Germany until 1956. He served in the Army Reserves following active duty.

Smitty's career was with the Green Bay Packaging for 35 years ending at the Coated Products Division in sales, a job that he loved. It was said "he never met a stranger" due to his remarkable ability to converse with anyone in any situation. Following retirement in 1991, he worked in customer relations at Wisconsin Label in Algoma for several more years.

Richard was active in many community organizations including one of the Green Bay Optimist Clubs, Brown County Chamber of Commerce, and Fox Valley Technical College. He was chairman of the Brown County Republican Party in the early '70's. He served on several committees at St. Matthew Church and the village of Allouez. After raising their family next to Heritage Hill in Allouez, Smitty and Bunny built their retirement home "through the woods from Northbrook Country Club in Luxemburg," where they enjoyed years of golfing. In retirement they learned to ski, travelled to Ireland, and back to Germany, and throughout the United States. Smitty served several years on the Northbrook board, joined the American Legion Post 262, volunteered on the Luxemburg Chamber of Commerce, the Kewaunee County Republican Party, and the Kewaunee County Redevelopment Committee. He enjoyed woodworking and "projects" which filled his time in his workshop. He said he "could mend anything but a broken heart" and even healed some of those. Sharing time with his family and friends, playing cards, football and baseball games and puzzles brought him great joy.

Smitty is survived by his wife Bunny; daughters, Nancy (Corky) Perret, Poplarville, MS, Kathleen (Jeff) Peterson, Minnetonka, MN, Sharon (Obai) Conteh-Morgan, Wauwatosa, WI, Mary Jo (Richard) O'Dea, Lino Lakes, MN; and son, Richard (Amani) Burris, Madison, WI; nine grandchildren, Caitlin Peterson, Clare & Nola Conteh-Morgan, Daniel, Michael, Matthew, and Jack O'Dea, Nia & Levi Burris; two step-grandchildren, Todd Perret and Melanie Perret, both of New Orleans, LA; one great granddaughter, Camille Perret; brother, William Thomas (Yvonne) Burris, Alameda, CA; sister, Rita Burris Dickinson, Capitola West, CA; sister-in-law, Mimi (Gordon) Bentley, Montello, WI; many cousins, nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Jeanne Burris Crosby; brother & sister-in-law, Keith "KC" & Patricia Burris;

Family and friends may call Friday, November 23, 2012, at Newcomer Funeral Home, 340 S. Monroe Ave., Green Bay, from 4:00 pm until 8:00 pm, with a parish prayer service at 7:30 pm. Visitation will continue from 9:30 am until 10:30 am on Saturday, November 24 at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Parish, 5930 Humboldt Road, Luxemburg, WI, with A Mass of Christian Burial being celebrated at 10:30 am, on Saturday, at the church with Rev. William O'Brien officiating. Entombment will be at Allouez Mausoleum. To leave a message for the family, please visit

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Unity Hospice, the .

The family would like to thank to Unity Hospice and Home Instead for their care for Richard and the family during his illness.


Published in Kewaunee County Star-News on Nov. 24, 2012
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