William's Story

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William J. (Bill) Burnett, a native of Cooperstown, died Friday afternoon, May 27, 2011, at Otsego Manor. He was 84.
Bill was born Dec. 10, 1926, at The Thanksgiving Hospital in Cooperstown, being among the last to be born there. He was the son of William Carter Burnett and Elnora (Horan) Burnett.
Bill grew up in Cooperstown and graduated from Cooperstown High School with the Class of 1944.
Shortly after graduating, he joined the United States Navy and trained as an electrician aboard the USS LSM 396 in San Diego, Calif. This ship was put in fleet reserve in Jacksonville, Fla., and it was from there that he received his honorable discharge on June 18, 1946, having obtained the rank of Electrician’s Mate Third Class.
After returning home, he  attended electronics schoolin Chicago, Ill. He was then employed by General Electric in Syracuse and later Auburn. While living in Auburn, Bill was an active member of the Jaycees and Highland Golf Club.
On Oct. 9, 1948, he married Delores (Dee) Bachanas, a union that lasted 62 years with three children, Patricia, Robert, and William. While living in Auburn, Bill joined Fairchild Graphic Equipment as a field engineer, working with the printing industry covering all of upstate New York.
In 1964, Bill and Dee moved to the Rochester area, where he joined with some friends  from his days with GeneralElectric and became a manufacturer’s representative in the electronics business, covering the Rochester- Buffalo area.
In 1970, Bill and Dee moved to Cooperstown when they purchased the Western Auto store on Main Street. They sold the store in 1979.
During the 1980s, Bill was elected to serve as a Trustee on the Cooperstown Village Board, and served for two terms. During his second term, he was appointed Deputy Mayor by then-Mayor William Purcell.
A former member of the Cooperstown Rotary Club, he was also a 30-year member of the Lions Club of Cooperstown.
As a Lion, he served in numerous capacities in the club, including two terms as club President and chairman of the Annual Christmas Tree Sales, as well as a Zone Chairman. Bill was also a member of The Native Sons of Cooperstown and the Clark F. Simmons American Legion Post No. 579 in Cooperstown. Throughout his life, Bill always enjoyed playing golf as well as working with wood.
The pieces he crafted from wood, including clocks, will be treasured by his family for years to come. Bill especially liked the times he spent at his family’s camp, Willowdale Lodge, located on the East side of Otsego Lake.
Bill is survived by his wife of 62 years, Delores (Dee) Burnett, of Cooperstown; one daughter, Patty Beck, of Stamford; and two sons and daughters-in-law, Robert Mark Burnett and wife, Kathi, of Tyler, Texas, and William E. Burnett and wife, Linda, of Cicero.
His grandchildren include Meaghan Bartell and her husband, Josh, Laura and Tara (Rosie) Beck, Benjamin Burnett Leslie and Matthew Burnett Leslie and his wife, Kyle, Amanda, Ashleigh and Christopher Burnett, step grandson Neil Jones and his wife, Robyn, and great-grandchildren, Manse Jones, Grant Jones, Carter Bartell, and Seamus Burnett Leslie.
Bill is also survived by his sister-in-law, Mrs. Carol J. Burnett, of Concord, N.C., and several nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, Bill was preceded in death by his sister, Angela Burnett, who died at the age of two; his brother, John (Jack) Leo Burnett, who died May 7, 1999, and a sonin- law, Joseph Beck, who  died July 31, 2005. Friendscalled at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home, Cooperstown on Wednesday, June 1, 2011, from 4 to 6 p.m., when Bill’s family was in attendance.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 12:10 p.m. on Ascension Day, Thursday, June 2, 2011, at St. Mary’s “Our Lady of the Lake” Roman Catholic Church in Cooperstown, with Fr. John P. Rosson, pastor, presiding. The Service of Committal and Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Index. Military Honors will be accorded by members of the Clark F. Simmons American Legion Post No. 579, Cooperstown, and a contingent from the United States Navy Funeral Honor Guard.
As an alternative to flowers, Bill’s family suggests that those who so desire direct memorial gifts to Catskill Area Hospice and Palliative Care, 1 Birchwood Drive, Oneonta, NY 13820 or to the Long Term Home Health Care Program, attention Mary Reitz, 128 Phoenix Mills Cross Road, Cooperstown, NY13326. The care provided to Bill by the caring individuals of each organization is greatly appreciated by his family.
Arrangements are under the guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.
Published on  June 2, 2011
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