Dennis E. “Denny” Burkett
November 02, 1956 ‒ September 08, 2021
Dennis Eugene Burkett (aka Denny & Legendary #33 in the racing world) age 64 of Delaware, passed peacefully from this world, surrounded by those who loved him dearly on Wednesday, September 8, 2021.
He was born in Columbus on November 2, 1956, as a 2nd generation American with Czechoslovakian heritage. Son of the late Cloyd “Red” & Jane H. (Plesko) Burkett. A graduate of Brookhaven High School, Denny worked with Franklin County as a facilities maintenance supervisor before his leukemia diagnosis.
Those left to cherish his memory include:
Children: Victoria (Rod) Dexter, Spencer (Shawna) Burkett & Zoe Burkett.
Grandchildren: Lillian, Emmit, “Sweet Baby James” & Milo Dexter.
Siblings: Rod (Patty) Burkett, Phil (Teresa) Burkett, Pam (Bill) Luft & Bunny (Toby) Ambrose.
Nieces & nephews: Travis (Kalee), Natalie, Will & Stuart Burkett, Matt & Tony (Elaine) Fogliano, Hannah, Billy & Brian Luft, Carlee, Trevor, Jake & Kobin Ambrose.
You fought a tough battle, Denny, and now your struggles on earth are over. You lived a great life & crammed a lot of carefree fun into it. Ever since you watched The Great Escape & saw Steve McQueen jump the barb-wire fence out of prison on a motorcycle, you decided that all you wanted to do was “Rip it & Fly High”. You had a passion for anything motorcycle-related. Well respected in the motorcycle circuit, you held numerous racing records.
On & off the racecourse, you always went full throttle ahead. Even in your 50s, you continued to compete, winning the national AMA number one title racing vintage motocross. You will be fondly remembered for doing burnouts & jumps in everybody else’s yard…but not your own.
After your diagnosis, you saw things through different eyes & really took time to enjoy the “simple things”. You enjoyed sunrises & sunsets, watching & feeding birds, morel mushrooms hunting, jingling wind-chimes & mowing your grass in the country. You looked forward to putting around on with your cronies on street bikes. You stayed busy helping your brother, Phil, install sewer & water lines, drain tiles, and a driveway using the backhoe. It meant so much for you to be productive & contribute back to those who were helping you.
Upon moving to Kilbourne, you were immediately embraced by the community & well respected. This wasn’t surprising, because you never knew a stranger. You had a contagious laugh & possessed a warped sense of humor… typical of the Burkett family. You were a proud American who valued strong work ethics & understood the importance of freedom. Despite loving the USA, you saw all politicians & government officials as “crooks”. Ornery to the core, you thoroughly enjoyed tormenting & teasing your nurses, doctors, treatment team & everyone else. Your inappropriate & off-collar comments, definitely made the world of cancer much less monotonous & sad.
You were multi-talented verbally too. Your ability to put 10 cuss words into one sentence was 2nd to none. Using those “creative word choices” while harassing telemarketers was another “daily hobby”. Recently, when a caseworker from 0PERS called, you ripped him
apart when he asked if you were “sick enough” to collect benefits…that you had worked your entire life for. The social worker was brought to tears & even apologized…which gave you great pleasure. You were also very good at being a “persuasive antagonist” & you knew how to use that to your advantage. Simultaneously, you also modeled strong work ethics for those who you oversaw on the job site.
Your early-year accomplishments include playing hooky with your brother, Rod, at age 5. Little League football provided you a “productive outlet” for playing rough. Not being heavy enough to meet the initial weight requirements, mom & dad weighted you down with rocks in your pockets to help you make the team. Notoriously, you were known with Phil as one of the “Hard Head Brothers”, based on the number of broken helmets you collectively had. Another talent included holding a middle school record for the number of push-ups.
As a teen, you devoured mom’s cooking. You loved homemade pizza, cookies, and ice cream & always had cheeks stuffed full. You often ate the remaining food on your baby sisters’ plates for them…so they could leave the dinner table. Fondly, Pam & Bunny also remember you torture tickling them until they peed their pants. You volunteered to take them trick-or-treating & then quickly hijacked their sugary loot with your friends. What little sisters wouldn’t enjoy being strapped into saucer sleds, that were tied to our dog, Duke, who loved a wide-open run on icy, snow-covered streets shutdowns in the city during snow emergencies?
You got removed from the “regular” boy-scout troop & relocated to the “problem platoon”. Sadly, you possessed weak fire-starting skills from that point forward & had to rely on your Eagle Scout brother, Rod, to start fires for you. Luckily he only charged you 5 cents each per fire-start.
Your 3 kids will always fondly remember hiking, carving trees, shooting BB guns & hunting for sassafras and paw-paws at the family property in Southern Ohio. Another pastime was attending flea markets, Swapper’s Day & Goodwill shopping with you. Each remembers having fun being hoisted into a dumpster as a child, as you trash picked with them. You could turn anything into a coveted treasure. Another memory that can’t be undone is you wearing a short, fuzzy woman’s robe as you cooked them breakfast. You wanted your kids to work hard, respect others & always do their best. You were a very proud father, who believed in tough love…but wanted the best for your kids. You wanted them to have fun in life too.
Countless people rallied to help you & make your days of living with leukemia more meaningful & pleasant. You never felt worthy, but it made you tearfully overwhelmed & grateful to see so many people come out of the woodwork to help you…even those you weren’t especially nice to. Lol.
Until we meet again, Denny! Fly high now and have fun riding wheelies, doing amazing jumps & burn-outs in Heaven. Please always lookout for all of us left behind and help us to find the beauty & humor in our daily lives. Especially watch over and guide your children & grandchildren. Give Mom & Dad a big hug. We love you & miss you already.
Please join the family for an informal Celebration of Life luncheon, to be held this Saturday, September 18th at 1 pm at 37 Letts Ave, Sunbury, Ohio, 43074.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the DeVore-Snyder Funeral Home in Sunbury.
Condolences may be expressed at www.snyderfuneralhomes.com