Sunday, June 22, 2014

Walter James Burgess, Jr. 1922 - 2014

After living a full life and at the age of 91, on Wednesday, March 12th, at 2:00am, Walter James Burgess, Jr. passed away. The last thing Grandpa ate before he died was ice cream. It was a common occurrence that he ate ice cream before going to bed. Grandpa Burgess was an important part of Tony's life. He regularly gave Tony rides to baseball practice. In fact, Tony and his cousins tribute Grandpa with their love of baseball. Grandpa remembered that differently. He liked baseball because of Tony.

Grandpa also stands out to many others as an excellent teacher and friend. Just a few years ago, Grandpa was inducted to the Dumas High School Hall of Fame where he taught math, physics, and tennis for 37 years.

Before those years as a teacher he served in the Pacific Theater during WWII in the US Coast Guard. His ship was involved in the campaigns that liberated the Philippines from Japanese rule.

The most important thing Grandpa did was accept the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ when the missionaries came knocking on his door. He and Grandma were baptized 3 November 1957 while living in Dumas, Texas. They left prominence in their prior church to dedicate their lives to building the Kingdom of God in their little community. Grandpa labored with his own hands to build the branch building that is still in use in Dumas. It was known in the community as the church that Walter built. He served several stints as branch president. All of his children were raised in the Church, and all four were married for eternity in the Temple.

Later, each grandson and one granddaughter of Walter and Beth Burgess served a mission. Those missions include Germany, Japan, Pennsylvania, California, Canada, Albania, and Brazil. Grandma and Grandpa served their own mission in the late 1980s as workers in the Dallas Texas Temple. After they followed Tony's parents to Dallas, Grandma and Grandpa continued as weekly ordinance workers in the Dallas Temple until they moved to Houston in about the year 2000 to be near their second daughter and her family. Then they worked regularly in the Houston Texas Temple.

As part of our trip from Arizona to the funeral (which we drove in one day each direction - never again), we visited Tony's parents in Dallas because we didn't think we would have much chance to visit them all year due to tight budgets. Tony had been interviewing for the position as assistant temple engineer for the same Dallas Temple his grandparents had been ordinance workers in for about 20 years. While in Dallas Tony and Mark visited the Temple so Tony could meet his potential new boss, Patrick Snyder. They had a great chat for about an hour. As Tony left the temple, he had a spiritual impression that his grandpa's passing was timed by the Lord specifically to help Tony get the job.

Small things lead to great things.

Below are pictures from the funeral in the Houston National Cemetery:

Location of the grave side service:

Skipping the person I don't know on the far left: Mark Brown, Hyrum Brown, Tony Brown, Patrick Jones.
Carrying the casket:

Trenda Brown received the flag as oldest representative of the children:

Mark Brown and Hyrum Brown

The Houston Texas Temple:

Temple Grounds:

The Asay family (Walter and Beth's youngest daughter, Tammie):

Tony, Lindi, Jeri Lin, Hyrum, Trenda, and Mark Brown

Our little family on Temple grounds:

The three sisters (Annette Jones, Tammie Asay, Trenda Brown) with cousin Carlton:

Me and Lindi:

The Jones family:

Patrick Jones with his bride:

Jeri Lin and Lindi:

Mark and Trenda Brown:

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