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John Cecil Burch

August 19, 1932 — April 17, 2024

Long Beach

John Cecil Burch

It is with much sorrow that we announce the passing of our beloved father, John Cecil Burch, on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. 

Dad was born on August 19, 1932 in Muskegon, Michigan to Cecil Jarmin and Eleanor Tischler Burch. Life with Cecil and Eleanor was not always easy, but it did have its adventures. Like the time the family spent the summer in a tent on Lake Michigan, or when work took Cecil to Galveston where Dad adopted a mischievous raccoon named Angela.

Dad spent many summers with his maternal grandparents, John and Mary Tischler. His grandfather was the editor of The Delano Eagle and as a child he loved to spend time at the Eagle office and at the book bindery upstairs. According to Dad, his grandparents were the most loving and kind people. It was his grandfather who introduced him to fishing, a passion that would last a lifetime.

After a brief stint in the Navy, Dad married our mom, Marian Cooper. They eventually moved from Minnesota and settled for a time in Port Allen, Louisiana. Dad took to southern life immediately, and met many colorful characters while fishing, exploring and even water skiing in the bayous.

A new job took Dad to Mississippi where he continued to work on his advanced degree through the University of Southern Mississippi. He eventually became employed by USM at their Gulf Park Campus after receiving his EdD. He worked for USM in various positions throughout the years including business administrator, assistant dean and faculty advisor. He taught many courses at both USM and MGCCC.

Dad had many hobbies through the years including motorcycles, photography, and horses. He was also quite the athlete. He swam, played tennis, racquetball, and handball, and skied on snow and water. He scuba dove, was a graceful skater, and was an acrobat both on the ground and on the diving board. He would entertain us by walking around the house on his hands.

Dad's love of learning never left him. He was a gifted mathematician and was well-read on many subjects including the sciences, psychology, sociology, history, politics, religion and anthropology. He remained sharp throughout his old age and loved a good debate.

In his later years, Dad enjoyed many camping adventures with his children and grandchildren, however, his favorite past time was fishing and simply messing about with boats. He made cast nets and watching him spread one over a school of mullet from the bow of a skiff was a thing of beauty. He was generous in sharing his love of fishing with many, many people over the years, patiently baiting hooks for novices and delighting in their joy when they landed something. We always had fish to eat and his adventures on the water and out at the barrier islands have become the stuff of legends, told around holiday tables and campfires.

Dad was preceded in death by his parents, grandparents and the mother of his children, Marian Cooper Burch. 

He leaves behind his dear friend, Susanne Bentz; three children, Susie Burch Tenney and husband Joe, Stephanie Baker, and John Burch and wife Holly; eight grandchildren, John Tenney and wife Jane-Claire Montgomery, Lizzie Tenney, Sam Tenney, Belinda Tenney and partner Graham Gremillion, William Tenney and partner Emily McDonald, Daniel Baker and wife Aspen Nero, Bonnie Baker and husband Brandon Traub, and Eva Burch; great-granddaughter, Juniper Montgomery-Tenney.

A memorial service will be held at a later date when the family can all be together. Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home, 15th Street, Gulfport, is honored to serve the Burch family.

Dad was generous in giving to friends, family and even strangers both at home and abroad. We ask that if you would like to honor his memory, consider making a donation to your favorite charity or give directly to someone in need through a monetary contribution or random act of kindness. 

Dad (known as Popeye by his grandkids) will be sorely missed, but we know he will live on in the hearts, minds, and memories of those of us who loved him.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Cecil Burch, please visit our flower store.

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