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William A. Burkett

Ex-councilman Burkett dead at 59

by Charles Slat , last modified February 16. 2009 10:57AM
William A. Burkett, 59. of Monroe, a retired autoworker, veteran city councilman and mayoral candidate in 2007, died Saturday at University of Toledo Medical Center. He had been in poor health for months and hospitalized for several days.

Funeral arrangements are pending at Allore Chapel-Martenson Family of Funeral Homes.

"His loss is a loss to the community," said Monroe Mayor Mark G. Worrell, who had known Mr. Burkett for many years and served with him on the city council. "One could disagree with Bill, but the tone was always civil. He held himself high and was greatly respected by his peers on council.

A 1967 Monroe High School graduate, he worked for 37 years at Ford Motor Co.'s Woodhaven Stamping Plant, retiring in 2004. He completed a plumber-pipefitter apprenticeship in 1977 and was a graduate of Highland Park Community College.

A professional auctioneer since 1967, he served as 1st Precinct councilman from 1992-93 and from 1999 to 2008. He served as mayor pro tem from 2005 to 2007. He also has served on various city committees.
Mr. Burkett had suffered from kidney failure and was on dialysis from September, 2002, until he received a kidney transplant in January, 2005. Though he had complications after the surgery, they cleared up and he no longer had to have dialysis. He said he felt he had a new lease on life and became a strong advocate for organ donation.

His death apparently was due to complications from pneumonia.

Mr. Worrell said Mr. Burkett had either been hospitalized or in rehabilitation for several months. He was released to home a few weeks ago, but then returned to the hospital recently.

Only days ago, he had requested that his name be withdrawn from consideration for reappointment to the city Zoning Board of Appeals until his health could improve.

"He wanted to be taken off the list for a while until he got his health back, but he wanted to be considered for future appointments," Mr. Worrell said. "He continued to have a desire to serve on city boards."

The mayor called Mr. Burkett "a caring father and husband" and said "he was blessed to have the support of his wife, Chris, through challenging health issues in recent years."

Mr. Burkett was an affable and easy-going public servant.

"He was a gentleman community servant," Mayor Worrell said.

"I take pride in the fact that I can work with anyone," Mr. Burkett said during his campaign for mayor. "Honestly, I believe that's probably one of the most important qualities you should look for in a mayor. I believe I use common sense to solve problems. I believe a leader listens first and talks second."

His public service included terms on the Mayor's Traffic Committee, Monroe Custer Airport liaison, Water Quality Committee and Economic Review Committee.

He was a member of the board of trustees of the Penrickton Center for Blind Children in Taylor from 1999 to 2004. He and his wife also rescued greyhounds.

Taken from the Monroe Evening News

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