John D. Burch

Published 4:45 pm Monday, February 17, 2020

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ST. JOHN’S, N.C. — John David “Punky” Burch, born on May 20, 1948, in St. John’s, North Carolina, passed away peacefully on Feb. 16, 2020, with his wife and family by his side.

He had lived in Ivor, Virginia, for the past 40 years. He was a husband, father, Papa, brother, brother-in-law and friend. He was a son of the late Vernon and Roxie Burch. He was raised by his late paternal grandparents, Willie and Minnie Burch.

He retired from Verizon (formerly Contel-GTE) as a plant assigner. He started his career with Continental Telephone as an install/repair man, and then worked as the only Ditch Witch Crew in the Franklin/Courtland area, where he served on the Contel Community Action Team.

After a heart attack in 1986 he moved inside as a plant assigner, where he remained until his retirement in 2001 with 23 years of service.

He was a retired member of CWA Local 2275.

He was a member of Powellsville Baptist Church, Powellsville, North Carolina.

He enjoyed woodworking, fishing and gardening, all of which his devoted wife was by his side. He enjoyed watching the grandchildren play ball and traveling when he was able with the “Road Trip Gang-Burch Broke.” A few of the highlights of this travel were the first-ever trip we took to Branson, Missouri; then off to Nashville to a live taping of his favorite RFD-TV show, “Larry’s Country Diner;” the cruise to Key West and Cozumel to celebrate his 70th birthday; and the Charleston, South Carolina, trip, where he so enjoyed the horse-drawn carriage ride. So many road trips and memories made to last us a lifetime.

John began his battle with lung cancer in 2013 with courage beyond measure. He never lost his sense of humor even after a diagnosis in 2014 with a brain tumor. In 2018 the lung cancer returned. The years of treatments took its toll on his body, and he was diagnosed in 2020 with end stage heart failure.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 37 years, Ruth Ellen Joyner Burch; children, Lori Anderson (Chuck) of Amelia; David Burch (friend Jennifer) of Crewe; Tina Burch (friend Danny) of Sutherland; Kevin Hargrave (Lisa) of Ivor; grandchildren, Austin Anderson, Vance Anderson, Britney Danet (Corey), Brian Burch, Brandon Shorter (fiancée Alyssa), Hunter Shorter and Braxton Hargrave; great-grandson, Jaxon Danet; a sister, Jo Hill Burch of Askewville, North Carolina; and a brother, Jimmy “Beaver” Burch (Mary Helen) of The Villages, Florida; numerous nieces and nephews; a host of wonderful friends; and his dog, Lil Buddy.

John was predeceased by two sisters and their husbands, Gladys B. Mizelle (Franklin) and Daisy B. Davis (Willie) of Windsor, North Carolina; and a great-grandson, Laine Emerson Danet of Dinwiddie.

The gathering of family and friends will be on Saturday, Feb. 22, from 6 to 8 p.m., in R.W. Baker & Co. Funeral Home, Wakefield Chapel.

The memorial service will be at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23, in the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, John asked that his friends and family donate to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation in honor of Austin Anderson in hope of finding a cure in his lifetime.

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