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Updated: 04/12/2014 02:00:15PM

George W. Burnham

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George W. Burnham, 79, of Arcadia, Fla., passed away Thursday, March 27, 2014.

He was born Aug. 25, 1934, in Arcadia, to John L. “J.L.” and Leota Boatright Burnham.

George attended school in DeSoto County and in 1951 he joined the United States Army. His love for his country placed him in active duty during the Korean Conflict and Vietnam War. While on military leave in the early 1960s he met JoAnn Atkins at Koch Drugs in Arcadia, and they fell in love and married in 1963.

After serving 20 years, he retired as a Sergeant First Class. He then began his career with Florida Dept. of Corrections and worked for DCI, the Work Release Community Center of Bradenton, Fla., a town they would call home for 11 years and the Arcadia Road Prison. George retired as a major after dedicating 20 years with the State of Florida.

When George found spare time, he enjoyed woodworking, working on cars, watching t.v. and piddling around. He was a jack of all trades. He collected eagles and loved going to McDonald’s for morning coffee and talking. George was friendly, outgoing and comical. He was an honest, forgiving, Christian man, a member of Mt. Ephraim Baptist Church. He was a man of integrity, values and morals. George was a loving husband, father, “Papa” & Granddad and will be deeply missed.

George is survived by his beloved wife of 50 years, JoAnn Burnham of Arcadia; daughters, Betty Burnham of North Port, Fla., Georgann Tisdale of Tyler, Texas, Tammy Gross of Arcadia, and Melanie (Clayton) Bonville of Arcadia, sons, Billy Burnham of Mayo, Fla., and Karl Burnham of Arcadia; and grandchildren, Wayne McLelland, Kevin McLelland, Jaime Porter, Kristy Snider, Billy Leer, Michael Gross, Tara Wilson, Lauren Bonville, Bradley Bonville, Bethany Bonville and Madison Bonville. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, John Edward Burnham; and grandson, Robbie Cecil.

A visitation will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 16, 2014, at Calvary Baptist Church. The funeral service will begin at 11 a.m. with Pastors Rick Hill and Jonathon Booher officiating. A private burial with full military honors will be held at Sarasota National Cemetery, Sarasota, Fla., at another date. Online condolences can be made at

Arrangements are by Ponger Kays Grady Funeral Home, Arcadia.

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