Joseph Martin Burkard

Burkard, Joseph Martin; “Joe”

Joe died at his home in Monroe, WA on May 6, 2012.  He was born on February 12th, 1923 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Joseph and Barbara (Heim) Burkard.

Preceded in death by his loving wife of 63 years, El Jeanne (Clemens); parents; sister, Magdeline; brother, Robert; grandson, Steven; and great-great granddaughter, Dioni.  Survived by brother, Richard (Anne) of Virginia; nieces, nephews and cousins of Wisconsin; daughters, Susanne (Tom) of Wisconsin and Jennifer (Arthur) of Ohio; and sons, Joel (Cathy) of Kona, Hawaii, Thomas (Christine) of Okinawa, Japan, Darrell (Joyce) of California, and Andrew (Lisa) of California; 14 grandchildren; 5 great-grandchildren; 2 great-great-grandchildren; and loving companion, Rina Gianfermi.

Joe served as a Paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division (The Screaming Eagles) of the US Army in WWII and saw action in Italy, Holland, Germany and France, including D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge, rising to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.  He also served with the first occupation troops in Japan immediately after the war.  The first in his family to attend college, he studied at Princeton University, earned a BA from University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and an MA from Northwestern University.  He taught school, built houses including his former retirement home in Sultan, WA; rebuilt cars, repaired tractors of all sizes, and built his own airplanes.  He resided with his family overseas in Japan, New Zealand and Hong Kong for 27 of his nearly 30 years as a Field Engineer and managed an office in Tokyo for Caterpillar Services, Limited.  Joe worked in a total of 21 different countries, often consulting on major construction projects. He was enthusiastic about his work, and traveled extensively for business and pleasure, bringing home souvenirs, even from the Antarctica.

Joe had an active mind, an adventurous spirit, and a generous heart.  He encouraged his children to learn Japanese when they moved to Japan; taught them to snow and water ski; helped found the Wellington Water Ski Club in New Zealand; taught his family to snorkel and scuba dive and after retiring, fulfilled a lifelong dream of learning to fly.  An avid outdoorsman, he planted many trees wherever he lived, including a lovely Japanese garden in the backyard of his Monroe, WA home and left his mark in various venues, and even fostered Sequoia trees in Washington.  He was recently honored in Snohomish by the Providence Hospice organization for his WWII military service.  He made fast friends wherever he went and will be sorely missed by both friends and family.

Those who wish, may make a donation in Joe’s memory to a Hospice of their choice.  Friends and family may post comments to the Barton Family Funeral Service Kirkland website at:

3 Responses to “Joseph Martin Burkard”

  • Andy Burkard says:

    Will miss you very much Dad. I’m so glad I was able to spend the last week in Monroe with Dad. It meant a lot to me and I’m grateful for the family support we experienced as a result of it.

    Thank you to all who sent their wishes for us. Dad held on all week and passed peacefully and privately when we gave him a little space on Saturday morning.

    Love to all.

  • Barbara Orr says:

    Joe survived being in Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. In terrible winter conditions, he and other members of the 101st Airborne were surrounded by German forces. He also was involved in Operation Market Garden and the invasion of Normandy (D-Day). lived life to the fullest.
    In his 80s, he was learning to play a musical instrument, going on countless cruises all over the world, working out in a gym and at home, doing spectacular landscaping in his yard and helping people with repairs, etc. When my amputee son needed to sell his condo Joe helped me make repairs. He worked long & hard putting in a new faucet, closet door, and more.
    I am going to miss the weekly lunches Joe & I had together. He was a very fascinating, wonderful man that inspired people with his knowledge, his example and his life’s experiences. I will never, ever forget my buddy Joe!!

  • George Hayao says:

    It will always be Mr. Burkard to me, since I have so much respect for him. Actually, he may be the very reason for my existence, because he became friends with my father, Shin Hayao, and helped him come to the US, where my father met my mother, Frances (Fujita) Hayao. Growing up, the Burkard family and ours were intertwined, perhaps growing apart in our later years, but never far from our memories and thoughts. Recently, I was back in Japan for the funerals of my own mother and another close relative, and Mr. Burkard was very much on my mind. To Susie, Jennifer, Joel, Tommy, Darrel, and Andrew, I want to express my deepest and sincerest condolences. Your father was a great man and will always have a place in our mind and heart.

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