John ''Jack'' Roger Burch

John ''Jack'' Roger Burch of Roanoke Rapids, formerly of Chester, NY, died January 8, 2012, peacefully at home with his loving daughter Beth-Ellan, granddaughter Laura-Jeanne and great-granddaughter Shiloh-Victoria at his side.

John fought a courageous battle as long as he could with vascular dementia. In the end, life was comfortable for him at home with his family, a cup of coffee, little mint candies, and occasional visits from his friends.

Born January 26, 1927 in Del Norte, Colorado, to John Thomas and Emily Schuler Burch. They lived in Saguache, Colorado along with his only sister, the late Dorothy Ann Burch of Nyack, NY. The family relocated to Blauvelt, New York in December of 1938, where dad went to school and eventually graduated from Nyack High School. Jack was the last surviving Charter Member of the Blauvelt Volunteer Fire Department located in Rockland County, NY.

Although suffering a broken back and neck in his senior year at high school, John was able to heal well enough to join the United States Air Force. He served during the Korean Conflict, and enjoyed telling the story of having to stand guard duty over McCarthyís Airplane at Haneida Air Force Base, in Japan.

John was married to Elizabeth G. Payne Willmott on March 28, 1953. Mother, being a war widow of WWII, came to this marriage with 3 children. Thomas R. Willmott, Edward R. Willmott and a beautiful little girl with dark curly hair,and striking blue eyes. Her name was Sharon Cynthia Lee Wilson. By dadís own words, ''This little girl stole my heart.''

Dad was so taken and full of love for this little girl, he yearned to give her the position of his first born to this union, therefore adopting her and making her the eldest of the Burch girls. Her name would became Elizabeth Jo Ann Burch. But dad always referred to her lovingly as ''Jo''. Five more girls would be born to this union, Beth-Ellan, Laura, Debbie, Evva and Marcia.

Mother and Dad relocated to Roanoke Rapids, N.C. after dadís retirement from the NY State Thruway Authority, where he worked as a welder on the Tappan Zee Bridge. In his retirement, John enjoyed traveling and visiting with his family in Saguache, Co. Going to many Air Force Reunions, until he became too ill to travel; having Christmas on the Mountain in Front Royal, VA with Jo and her family was a big favorite as well. ''It may not be the Rockies, but the Shenandoah Mts. are the next best thing.'' he would say.

He enjoyed his crossword puzzles, and the never ending cup of coffee he carried with himself where ever he went. Dad also had the uncanny ability to make conversation with anyone, and never met a person he didnít like.

I will miss his easy smile, and original sense of humor. And I wish him a safe and speedy trip in his new journey.

By dadís own wishes, there will be no public viewing or funeral services. Cremation will be direct and he will be interred in Hillside Cemetery, Saguache, Co., in the family plot, at a time which is convenient for his family.

Anyone wishing to do so, may make donations to G.W. Burch Educational Fund, 403 Pitkin Avenue, Saguache, CO 81149 or a charity of ones own choosing.

The flag in front of the funeral home flies at half-staff in honor of Mr. Burchís service to his country.

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Askew Funeral & Cremation Services  •  731 Roanoke Avenue   Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870  •  252-537-8888