John Charles Burress, Lt. Colonel

May 07, 1934 - March 23, 2024

Service: A celebration of John’s life will take place on Saturday, April 13, 2024, at 1:30 in the auditorium of Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community, Cranberry Township, PA.

John Charles Burress, Lt. Colonel (Retired) USAF Reserves, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Saturday, March 23, 2024 with his wife and two daughters beside him.   He was born in Anderson, South Carolina, on May 7, 1934, the son of the late Charles Dock and Sula Shirley Burress.   He was a graduate of Clemson University, the Air War College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

John was a member of Christ Church at Grove Farm where he and his wife founded and led the Primetimers.  In former churches, he faithfully served with youth and adult ministries.  John’s love for the Lord was evident in all of his life as was his devotion to his family and country.    He had a two-fold career as an Air Force Reserve Technician Navigator with the 911th Airlift Wing at the Pittsburgh Airport.   After retiring from the Reserves in 1984 as a Master Navigator, he became the Disaster Preparedness Officer until his retirement from Civil Service in 1992.

At the same time, he managed the family tree farm in S.C. and during the fall of 1993, he completed the Pennsylvania Forest Stewardship’s Volunteer Initiative Program training and served in many capacities as a forestry volunteer.    He was a member of the Sewickley Men’s Club and for several years served as a driver coordinator for the American Cancer Society in the Parkway West Area.

In addition to his parents, John has been preceded in death by a baby daughter and his sister Mrs. Beth Gramling.    Surviving are his beloved wife of 67 years, Harriet Poore Burress, two daughters Patricia Michalko (Tom) and Anne Kimpel (Jim), four grandchildren Tricia Gottschalk (Shannon), John Michalko (Rachel), Charlie Kimpel (Heather) and Stephen Kimpel (Shelby), and nine great grandchildren – Lexi, Mallory, and Toby Michalko, James, Josiah, Autumn and Hunter Gottschalk, and Micah and Judah Kimpel.   John blessed his family with unconditional love and devotion and leaves a legacy of Christ centered homes.

A celebration of John’s life will take place on Saturday, April 13, 2024, at 1:30 in the auditorium of Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community, Cranberry Township, PA.   He will be buried at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies.

In Lieu of flowers, the family’s desire is that your remembrances be donated to CEED, P.O. Box 1362 Wexford, PA 15090.    These donations will provide wells and clean water for villages in Uganda, a ministry of Christ Church at Grove Farm that was dear to John’s heart.

The family would like to express special thanks to John’s doctors, CRNP, nurses, aides – who were his “angels in disguise” – and all other personnel in skilled care and therapy at Sherwood Oaks.    Their expert help, kindness and “tender loving care” were much appreciated.

Arrangements by Devlin Funeral Home, Cranberry Township

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  • Mike Silverman

    May he test in peace and may his memory be a blessing.

  • Bill Gruber

    John Burress was my neighbor from my toddler days until I moved away for college. Despite spending most of his adult life among Pennsylvania Yankees, he remained the epitome of the term “southern gentleman.”

    He was always a steady presence in our community. When I was about age seven, John taught me one of my first lessons in putting life events in perspective. The Burress family had just purchased a new VW Beetle, and it was parked on the street in front of their home when a neighbor’s old car rolled down the driveway and broadsided the VW. Let’s just say that a Buick versus a Beetle was not a pretty sight. I was on the scene soon after and felt so bad for Mr. Burress. He was completely calm, and told me that the car would be fixed, nobody was hurt, and, if the VW wasn’t parked there, the big Buick could have rolled right into the Burress family home, which could have been tragic. I was impressed by his demeanor and perspective in a stressful situation, and that has resonated in me over the years.

    He and my father were the same age, and retired about the same time. My father began referring to John as “The Mayor,” and that was a very fitting honorary term for a man who was such a long, stable, rational, and active presence in the neighborhood, especially in those retirement years.

    We’ve lost a role model, a Mayor, and the true personification of Southern Gentleman. All my best to Harriet, Patricia, Anne, and their families.

  • James M Reagan

    John was a great cousin that provided much fun me and Mary Ann whenever we visited Anderson and was kind and thoughtful during our mother’s illness and death. He was a saint to us all. So sorry for you loss. Prayers for the entire family and comfort during this tough time!

  • Aleta Kelly

    It was such a joy and pleasure to work with you and John over the years, Harriet. I know a lifetime of wonderful memories are comforting you right now, as well as your loving family. Wishing peace to you and the family as you walk through these next few weeks.

  • Bill Priatko

    John was as fine a man I have ever known. A man of great Christian faith, humble and genuine I served with John in the 911th Air Force Reserve unit for many years.. He was a joy to be with. His memory truly will be eternal.

    Bill Priatko

  • Graham and Eileen Hodgetts

    So sorry for your earthly loss Harriet but we know that you know you have a Heavenly reunion ahead. Thank you and John for your selfless donations to CEED providing clean water to over 6000 souls in dire need in Uganda. You and John were so dedicated and generous in funding those wells. Thank you so much. I am confident we will meet John again in the presence of our Savior Jesus.


    Rest in the Lord

  • Cynthia Holpp McNeez

    I worked with LtC Burress while I was at the 911th AW. He was such a principled man who led by quiet assurance. Condolences to all.

  • Dave Weingartner

    I am thankful to John for the many acts of kindness he has given me throughout the years. I will be eternally grateful to John for showing me how to live as a Christian man by his character, words and actions. It has been a blessing to call him my friend.

  • Henry Signore

    “A life well lived” indeed! Growing up two houses away, this man was the standard for us young men. The “Shake” was our standard – he would have us walk up and shake his hand to see if we had a strong handshake. But that represented more than a handshake although we didn’t realize it at the time. A handshake is your word and a measure of your character…the stronger, the better. I find myself doing the same with younger family members – a lasting tribute to the man who meant so much to me growing up. God bless you John and your wonderful family!

    Harriett, Pat, and Anne – you and your families are in my thoughts and prayers. Take comfort in that life well lived and the wonderful legacy he has gifted us with. ❤️

  • Bernard Fabian

    The life lost of a god fearing wounderful man. A great leader,navigator and proud American.I was blessed to know and work with you.

  • Jane Hall Barfield

    Harriet and family, You all are in my prayers. So many memories of growing up at Mountain Creek with John.

  • Kathy Johnson

    I’m so sorry for your loss and so grateful he raised such an amazing Christian Woman (Pat) who is such a blessing to me and everyone that knows her. Praying for the family .


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