Chester James "Chet" Burch
1947 - 2019
Burch, Chester James "Chet" ALBANY Chester James "Chet" Burch of Albany passed away on December 31, 2019. He was born on January 24, 1947, in Amsterdam, N.Y. Chet was blessed with the gift of two loving wives. His first wife, Louise, predeceased him in 2013. His father Claude and mother Christine predeceased him as well. His second wife, Diana Maiwald Wight survives him. He is also survived by his siblings, Charles J. Burch, Calvin J. Burch, and Carolyn J. (nee Burch) Bennett; and his nephews, Erik, Mark and Michael. Chet grew up in the Caroga Lake area. Growing up in the Adirondacks was a very formative experience that impacted many pursuits throughout the rest of Chet's life. An appreciation of the outdoors, broad vistas and unenclosed spaces became embedded in his psyche. He was a Boy Scout and attained "Star" rank while enjoying hiking and hunting. When time allowed, he used the family "Kamp" in Caroga Lake that his father built by hand just 10 miles from where he grew up. Chet graduated from Wheelerville School from a one-room schoolhouse in 1965. He went on to college at University of Buffalo to graduate in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering His education did not halt there, as he remained an avid reader, specializing in history, throughout the remainder of his life. He amassed a substantial library over the decades and had lately dabbled in ebooks to conveniently borrowed from the library. Chet worked for New York State Department of Transportation from 1969 to 2003. He had no intention of working any longer than he had to but elected to stay for one more year to assist in his agency's physical move to a new location. He was involved in many important road projects including the redevelopment of Central Avenue, New York State Thruway, the Northway and Washington Avenue Extension. He was also a licensed professional engineer. At his retirement he had attained a supervisory position as a professional engineer two grade 27 in N.Y.S.D.O.T. Region 1 Design Office after which he refused to entertain any more advancement. Chet belonged to the Public Employee Federation and attended rallies. Chet engaged in a life of decades-long enthusiasm, involvement and practical application, often with a touch of fantasy. His membership and activities (which culminated in leadership roles) included: the Society of Creative Anachronism (SCA) within which he was awarded arms to become Lord James Allen of Concordia and for which he made many alcoholic beverages for competition; the Caroga Fish and Game Club which trained new hunters and meetings; the Save the Pine Bush community group since its inception and for which he helped on many a lasagna dinner; the Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association; Black Powder groups: the 13th Albany County Militia, National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association and other Northeastern Primitive Rendezvous events for which he and Louise made a large canvas teepee; Galaxy or empire-building computer games of strategy and tactics (Imperium Challenge, Hearts of Iron and Elvenar) and even earlier Dungeons and Dragons with his close friends. Among his chief activities was participation in church. At the time of his death, he was a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church of Albany, which he and Louise joined when their prior church, Madison Avenue Presbyterian closed. In his years at the Westminster, Chet served on the Board of Deacon (twice), including a term as moderator, and on the board of Trustees. Even more, he was known as the unofficial (but always on duty) church greeter. Supporting his church was important to Chet and he took part in weekly worship, the Kirkin' of the Tartan special worship, Watch Night services, African Mission Night dinners, concerts, mission trips to Ghana (2009, 2011), Tuesday morning breakfasts and more. Chet decided in 2006 that Albany Presbytery should make and send diapers for the large Osu Children's Home in Accra. Chet designed the diaper after talking to Church member Clara Hankins and sent samples to other congregations. Hundreds of diapers were sent to Ghana, including a large number personally made by Chet on his own sewing machine. In every setting, Chet gave the best of himself for the sake of others. It is no wonder he will be deeply missed, even as we give thanks for his life. It sums up many aspects of his life when he said, after having a church member express their gratitude for his contributions to the church, "I tried my best." A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on January 25, 2020, in church and anyone wishing to share their remembrances are welcome. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the "Save the Pine Bush" organization at or to Westminster Presbyterian Church. Westminster Presbyterian Church is located at 262 State Street in downtown Albany between Dove and Swan. Entrance for parking for the church is at 85 Chestnut St., Albany, NY, 12210. Arrangements have been entrusted to the Tebbutt Funeral Home, Albany. To express condolences and for more information, please visit

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Published by Albany Times Union from Jan. 19 to Jan. 22, 2020.
Memorial service
Westminster Presbyterian Church
262 State Street, Albany, New York
Funeral services provided by:
Tebbutt and Frederick Memorial Home
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11 Entries
i met chet the night before he married louise. they both treated me and my family as their family. when my mother passed, they came 300 miles, the next day. so many memories of so many years--- may he and louise rest in eternal peace. like everyone else, he and louise are sorely missed.........
jean halstead hayes
January 13, 2021
Chet was a great husband to my cousin Louise. I had the best fortune to be close by my Grandparents Fred and Lida and yearly mainly during the summer months we had many of the family come to visit. I can remember listening to wonderful stories from Chet as I grew up. Many around their camping excurious he and Louise went on through out the Northeast. He was a man of humor and kindness.

Best regards. Wendy (LaMotte) de la Rosa
Wendy de la Rosa
January 30, 2020
Chet was a dedicated and caring volunteer for years at the FOCUS Breakfast Program, an emergency feeding program in downtown Albany. He formed close bonds with the guests; not only serving them a hot meal but getting to know them as well. Sincere and heartfelt gratitude to Chet!
Kathryn Linhardt
January 25, 2020
Chet you will be missed by all of us. Tonight Charlie and I had dinner with your nephew Mark, who is your twin, his voice and mannerisms are all you, so you will live on through him and never really be gone. Rest in peace with the Lord.
Patti Burch
January 23, 2020
What a shock it was to receive the news of Chet's passing. I knew him as Lord James Allen of Concordia for more than 20 years in the Society for Creative Anachronism. He, and Louise, were always there to lend a helping hand and support the local group. We often used their church for our events and once he hosted an event at the Caroga Fish and Game Club. His presence at our events and meetings will be missed. My condolences to his family and friends.
Tom Justin
(known in the SCA as G. Emerson True)
January 23, 2020
back in the late 80's and early 90's M.r Burch was my supervisor, He was a very capable, honest and knowledgeable engineer. It was a pleasure
working for him.
Albert J Frankovic
January 22, 2020
Chet is my step dad's (Charlie Burch) brother. Being that we lived in the Buffalo area and Chet in Albany, we didn't see him and Louise often, but I have fond memories. We visited Grandma Burch' in Caroga Lake every six weeks or so and often times Chet and Louise would be in town for a Game Club event or just visiting as well. I remember Chet being an avid reader and student of anything he was interested in. He very much enjoyed sharing his knowledge with all that would listen(wether we wanted to or not lol) holding court about one topic or another. One special memory is of the time he took me over to the Game Club to shoot one of his .50 cal black powder guns. I hadn't shot since my days in Scouts but was eager for the opportunity. After many rounds Chet decided to issue a challenge to me, if I could hit the 6inch metal target he set at 50 yards, he'd give me $5(he of course knew I wouldn't be able to)...well, DING! My 1st shot hit its mark and his didn't. Chet gave me the $5, but I also had the privilege of cleaning BOTH rifles back at Grandmas house. Any time they'd be in Buffalo visiting friends we'd have dinner at our house or often times at a great place called Green Acres in Ft Erie Canada; I'd imagine because their cooking reminded him of his moms great talents in the kitchen. Chet was always nice to me and I found him quite eclectically interesting. Thanks for the shooting lesson', sorry if I rubbed it in a bit too much, you were a good sport. May you rest well in Gods Peace
Michael Baer
January 21, 2020
Thomas Field
January 21, 2020
Both my wife Nancy and I wish to express our deepest sympathy to Chet's surviving family. We both knew Chet and Louise for many years and enjoyed their company; especially when they hosted a teepee outing in their backyard. Our young sons thought that was very cool indeed!

Mark & Nancy Plaat
January 21, 2020
Will be missed
The Smythe Family
January 20, 2020
chet is the personification of kindness.
January 19, 2020