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Burlew, Johnnie N. “John” – Obituary

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Baker City, Oregon

Johnnie N. “John” Burlew, 85, a longtime Baker City resident, died Feb. 11, 2003, at his home.

His funeral will be at noon Saturday at First Lutheran Church, 1734 Third St. Pastor Dennis Hickman of the First Lutheran Church will officiate. Burial will be at Mount Hope Cemetery. There will be a reception afterward at First Lutheran Church.

Visitations will be until 5 p.m. today at Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave.

John was born on Nov. 9, 1917, at Baker City to Truman Allen and Johannah Mary Sorenson Burlew. He was raised mostly in Baker City.

John served in the U.S. Marine Corps from May 1943 to October 1945, attaining the rank of master sergeant. As a veteran of World War II, he served in battle at Bismarck Archipelago, New Britain and in the Philippine Islands.

John always made a living by his hands. He owned ad operated several different businesses. He owned a construction company, was a contractor, owned a shoe shop at La Grande and was a mill worker. He worked on the green chain for the Oregon Lumber Co.

John built his first house at Pilot Rock while working for the lumber company. He built many other houses in Baker City as well.

He built Tiny Jones’ truck stop in Baker City and he helped to renovate the natatorium, which is now the Oregon Trail Regional Museum. He built milking parlors throughout the valley for farmers and did ditch work for the ranchers in the Baker Valley. He also built the tower at Lookout Mountain.

His hobbies included mining, fishing, hunting, welding and iron working and numerous other activities. John was known as an inventor. He was a creative man and could fix anything. Known for his sense of humor, his favorite phrase was “Zippity-Doo-Dah.”

John was proud of his country, his community and most of all, his family.

Survivors include his daughters, Patrina Burlew of Baker City and Marie Jones of Emmett, Idaho; his granddaughter, Christy Smith, and her husband, Brian, of Nampa, Idaho, and their four children, Kassondra, Matthew, Colton and Darren Smith; his brother, Morris, and his wife, Margaret, of Grass Valley, Calif.; his nephew, David, and his wife, Jan, of Gold Hill; his brothers-in-law, Donald Christy and his family of Baker City, and Gerald Christy and his family of Meridian, Idaho; a sister-in-law, Teresa McCabe of Washington; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his stepmother, Harriet Burlew; and his beautiful wife, Nona.

Memorial contributions may be made to the First Lutheran Church or a charity of one’s choice through Gray’s West & Co., P.O. Box 726, Baker City, OR 97814.

Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, February 14, 2003
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor

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