William David Burdett

william burdett

July 17, 1943 ~ May 24, 2023

Born in: Chicago, IL
Resided in: Bryan, TX

William David Burdett (“Dave”) passed away peacefully in his home on May 24, 2023.

Dave was born in Chicago, Illinois on July 17th, 1943, to William “Bill” Burdett and Charlene Kreml Burdett Wheeler. After a few years of college, Dave was commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy, where he served as a Naval Flight Officer. He flew the A-3 Skywarrior and served during the Vietnam War on two aircraft carriers: the U.S.S. Guadalcanal and Ticonderoga. Dave was extremely proud of his military career and often shared fond (and funny) memories of his time in the Navy. On January 1, 1969, while at his last duty station, Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, he met Kathleen Bowen and they fell in love. They were married in April 1969 after just four months of courtship. Dave completed his contract with the Navy and then continued to pursue his education while Kathy taught high school mathematics in Corpus Christi. He always said he left Chicago as soon as he could and made his way to Texas, where he became a “naturalized Texan—just like Davy Crockett.”

Dave graduated from Texas A&I Kingsville (now known as Texas A&M – Kingsville) with honors on the Dean’s List. Dave and Kathy then moved to Dallas so that he could attend Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law. While attending SMU, he was named Editor-in-Chief for the Southwestern Law Journal, earned the prestigious Order of the Coif (an honor society for U.S. law students), and went on to graduate seventh in his class. Upon graduation and passing the bar exam, Dave became an attorney. He practiced law in Dallas for ten years, while Kathy continued to teach. Dave and Kathy mentored numerous students whom Kathy taught at school, and they became close friends and confidants within their community and church while volunteering in several organizations.

In 1982, Dave decided to follow his passion for the outdoors and shooting sports, and he purchased a retail sporting goods store in Hearne, TX. He was sure his then 4-year-old son, Barry, would want to be a part of the business, so he named the store Burdett & Son Sporting Goods. He promptly joined the Hearne Chamber of Commerce, eager to do his part and serve his new community. Dave continued practicing law part-time in Robertson and Brazos Counties for fifteen years. He often took on court-appointed cases and found fulfillment in helping those who were less fortunate. He never missed an opportunity to mentor his clients, in hopes of helping them to better their lives, and he expressed kindness and empathy to everyone with whom he worked. While he was a successful attorney who was well-liked and respected—both  in the courtroom and among his clients—Dave’s true professional passion was operating Burdett & Son alongside Kathy. Together, they built much more than a retail store in Burdett & Son. They were devoted to serving their community, encouraging participation in outdoor recreational activities, and bettering the lives of those around them. Dave’s employees spoke highly of him (and Kathy) as their employer, and they considered themselves to be the Burdetts’ extended family—and that is how they were treated. After forty years in business, Burdett & Son is still thriving at its present location across from Texas A&M on Texas Ave, and Dave has passed it on to the next generation: Barry, Sarah, Bailey, Corwyn, and Daphne.

One of Dave’s greatest passions was helping and mentoring others, especially youth. He very much enjoyed participating in Scouting with his son and grandsons. He earned the Silver Beaver Award from the Boy Scouts of America after serving as a scout leader for over 25 years, and was also a Wood Badge 4 Course Director, recognized for his part in this advanced leadership training. He served as a leader in the Sam Houston Area Council, participated on the district committee, and led countless scout trainings and events over the years. He taught hunter safety to over 1,000 young people in the state of Texas (most in Brazos County), earning him the prestigious Texas Parks and Wildlife Award. He also frequently taught Firearm Safety classes to children. Dave was an NRA Certified Instructor and an NRA Training Counselor, mentoring other instructors across Texas. He taught many self-defense and firearm safety classes and was one of the first License to Carry instructors in the Brazos Valley.  Dave also helped organize the first “Friends of the NRA” banquet for the Brazos Valley, which has subsequently become a robust community organization funding local 4-H programs, other community organizations, and local facilities.

Dave was also deeply patriotic and passionate about teaching history—especially Texas history, the American Revolution, and the Civil War.  He reenacted battles across the United States, and sincerely enjoyed getting dressed up in uniforms to teach others. Dave eagerly spoke at many local schools, Boy Scout packs and troops, Sons of the Confederate Veterans, and community events—and to anyone who wanted (or, in his eyes, needed) a history lesson.  He was a board member for the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History, a member of the Sons of Union Veterans (he was a descendent of a Union Soldier), Sons of Confederate Veterans – Sull Ross Camp (who lovingly referred to this descendent of a Union Soldier as a “Friend of the Camp” or their “POW”), American Legion Post 159, an Admiral in The Texas Navy Association (an honorary title issued by the Texas Governor in recognition of a person’s noteworthy service to his/her fellow Texas residents), and a precinct chairman for the Brazos Valley Republican Party—where he also served on the Executive Committee.

Dave and Kathy have been active members of the congregation at First Presbyterian Church of Bryan for over 40 years. Dave was a deacon, an elder, and a volunteer on numerous committees at the church throughout the years. He also volunteered as a mentor at an after-school program hosted by the church for students from SFA Middle School.

After Dave was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, he became one of the first members of Rock Steady Boxing College Station—a nonprofit organization that gives people with Parkinson’s disease hope by improving their quality of life through a non-contact boxing-based fitness curriculum.  He became known for coordinating lunch gatherings after practice, and the group gave him the unofficial title of “social coordinator”, as they could always count on him to plan lunch events and help foster camaraderie.

Dave’s other hobbies included reading, gardening (he earned the Master Gardener designation after extensive horticulture training and volunteering in the Brazos Valley), playing the banjo (although he only knew one song from memory and would drive his family crazy playing it over and over again), leatherworking, hunting, shooting, reloading, camping, hiking, woodworking, gunsmithing, playing trivia and card games, keeping up with the latest and greatest electronics, and much more.  But his favorite pastime of all was simply being with his family.

Dave’s greatest accomplishments came as Dad, Grandpa, and Great-Grandpa. He is survived by his wife, Kathy, and his children Barry, Amanda, and Andrea.  He was also extremely proud of his children’s spouses, Sarah Burdett, Adam Hopper, and Ryan Ratcliffe.  He is survived by his grandchildren, Destine Mejia and her husband, Alex; Victoria, Thomas, and Jaxson Cruz; Daisy and Lily Hopper; Bailey, Corwyn, and Daphne Burdett; and Jeren David and Elliana Ratcliffe.  He is also survived by his great-grandson, Kooper Whitaker; his adopted granddaughter, Hayle Swanzy, and great-granddaughter, Hazel; his aunt, Lois Kreml Flaws; and half-brother, Scott Wheeler.  Finally, Dave’s family would like to express their sincere appreciation to his devoted and loving caregivers, Ashley, Dani, Nancy, and Josh.

Dave’s family will host a celebration of his life at 2:00 PM on June 17, 2023 at First Presbyterian Church of Bryan, TX.  The celebration can be viewed via livestream at that time, or any time after, at: https://www.youtube.com/@firstpresbyterianchurchofb5205/streams. If you plan to attend, please wear the uniform that reminds you most of Dave, or your favorite hat—Dave loved to dress up in uniforms and wear hats!

In lieu of flowers, donations in his honor may be made to Hospice Brazos Valley, First Presbyterian Church (for the Children’s Center for new playground equipment or for the church-sponsored Boy Scout Troop’s camp funds), or the Robert Conte Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Inc. at. www.robertcontefoundation.org/dave.

Dave’s military awards include Naval Flight Officer (Navigator), Air Medal w/numeral “4”, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, N&MC Expert Pistol Marksmanship Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/Palm, Republic of Vietnam Air Gallantry Cross with Silver Wings (equivalent to U.S. Air Medal), and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal w/1960-device. The highest rank he held was Lieutenant. The units he served in were: flight training at NAS Pensacola, FL; VT-29 at NAS Kingsville, TX; the USS Guadalcanal (LPH-7); NAS Whidbey Island, WA; VAH-4, VAH-123, USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14); and NAS Corpus Christi, TX.

Services

Celebration of Life Tribute: June 17, 2023 2:00 pm

First Presbyterian Church
1100 Carter Creek Parkway
Bryan, Texas 77802

979-823-8073

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Memories Timeline

Guestbook

  1. Dear Kathy and family, my sincere condolences over your loss. I will always cherish many
    good memories of Dave that we shared in Scouting. May God less and comfort you.
    Yours sincerely, Mike G

  2. Kathy, we are so sorry to learn of Dave’s passing. He was truly one of the best. What wonderful memories we have of good times together—and stories shared around the campfire deep in the heart of the Brush Country of South Texas. He will be missed. God’s peace to you and all who loved him.

  3. We were saddened to learn of Dave’s passing. Our heartfelt sympathies are extended to members of the Burdett family. Dave was one of the “good guys.”

  4. Sincere condolences to the family. I am so very sorry for your loss. May God provide the necessary peace and comfort to your family and friends during this difficult time. Please remember these words of encouragement from the Bible: “ Jesus plainly told her: “I am the resurrection and the life. He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life.” —John 11:20-25.

  5. Dear Kathy and family,
    Dave was a very kind man who dearly loved you and his community. We were so thankful for his generous service on our Board and loyal support of the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History. He was a great friend to all of us and will be sorely missed. Please accept our heartfelt sympathy for your loss. Sending hugs, prayers, and love.

  6. Kathy and Barry we are so sorry for your loss of Dave. Your family is our prayers.

  7. Kathy and family,
    Words do not come easily at this time. Please know you all are in my prayers asking God our Father to bring comfort, peace, and His love to you all during this time. We love you all so dearly.

  8. I am so very blessed to be part of your family. I love you and will miss dave. Dave was always oe i looked to for advice, and will always cherish it. God has welcomed a great man in heaven.

  9. Let your light shine before men….
    Dave is the epitome of kindness and generosity. His time and talents were shared generously without hesitation along so many avenues. I got to know him thru BSA where we were scoutmasters and our sons have become lifelong friends. His positive impact on so many will be sorely missed here, but what a great eternity for him begins now. Dave, you are the Midas of Kindness. We, many will miss your touch.

  10. Blessed are we who had the opportunity to spend a moment leaning on the counter sharing strong opinions tempered with Dave’s big heart and integrity.

  11. Burdett family
    I am so proud to say that I knew Mr Burdett! We were privileged to spend time with him through the scouts (Troop 743). He had me awe struck with his stories!
    God Bless!

  12. Dear Kathy, Barry, Amanda and Andrea,
    Andy has been keeping me posted on Dave’s health condition in recent weeks. I’m grateful his struggle is over and I’m sorry for your loss. I had no idea he was such a war hero and such an accomplished attorney! I’m proud I knew him. We of course consider Barry as family and send lots of love and prayers your way! ( BTW, the chiweenie you rehomed with me, Lulu, is going strong! I’ve had her 13 years now!)

  13. What an AMAZING life Dave had! When my father ( an AVID gun shooter/collector) was still alive, B&S’s was the ONLY place he would trade. He had great respect for both Dave and Kathy. My Deepest condolences to all the family, but especially to Barry. I know what it feels like to lose the best man you’ve ever known. Dave left one helluva legacy.

  14. I met Dave, Hipshot as we knew him, when I joined Rock Steady Boxing. He was one of the first to welcome me to the ranks of those fighting Parkinson’s. I remember after we finished our workout, several of us would get some lunch. Hipsot would always pick the spot. I always think of him when I pass by these establishments. He always had a smile for me too. Hipsot, my friend, you will be missed. Kathy our prayers are with you and your family.

  15. We have such fond memories of Dave. We were fortunate to go on trips and go to events together. We will never forget going to Fredericksburg and Caddo Lake. We went to dinner or something we always had to stop a Dairy Queen. He loved ice cream. We are glad that he is home with Our Lord with no more confusion or pain. Our condolences to family and friends. You will be missed.

  16. When I was very young,
    I heard the wild geese calling,
    And I followed them.
    Now, and for many years,
    I’ve followed far,
    Across this troubled sphere,
    Yet, still they call.
    “Come with us now,
    The door is open,
    To one, last, great adventure,
    And then, peace,
    For just a little while.”
    Beware, my as yet unborn mother,
    The child that you shall bear,
    Shall surely hear their call,
    And follow.

  17. I first met Dave at Naval Air Station Pensacola Florida when we were in what was called the Indoctrination Battalion. After two weeks in what could pass as “pure hell”, we ended up in Batalion III under the auspices of Gunnery Sergeant Maxwell, USMC. Dave and I and four other cadets ended up in the same Squad Bay for the ensuing 16 weeks prior to commissioning. After that’s it was another 16 weeks in Pensacola as we progressed through basic Nav/NFO school, and than a move over to NAS Corpus Christi for Celestial Nav School, receipt of our “”wings of gold””, and our being scattered throughout the Navy. I ended up with an additional 16 weeks in Norfolk with the Fleet Airborne Electronics Training Unit (Simulators), and than another 16 weeks with the Replacement Air Group in Jax, and onto my duty squadron up at NAS Brunswick Maine, and deployments around the Atlantic and Med..

    Meantime, I had heard through the Navy grapevine that Dave had left Corpus Christi headed for an LPH which was typically staffed by Black Shoe/Sailors, Brown Shoe Aviators, and an oversupply of Marines. Didn’t know what Dave was doing on a ship like that, but ultimately heard he was the Hangar Deck Officer – around 1965 – 1966? That was the last I had heard from Dave until I sent him an Email late last year.

    Have loads of fond memories of Dave, especially during the OCS phase of our training. Heck of not only interesting person, but just plain likable. Sorry for your family’s loss.


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