Walter “Jon” Burman, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on Thursday January 17, 2019 after an unexpected but courageous battle with cancer. Jon will be deeply missed on earth by his wife Susan, his daughters Charlene Hinan (Josh) and Colette Stuart (Joe), grandchildren Zak, Chelsie, Harley (Annie) and Kennedy, siblings Bart (Susan), Lucille, Flo, Betty, Andrea and Jack, his nephews Randy and Stewart, and his faithful companions Harley and Davidson. Let us not forget to mention Jon’s longtime commitments to his greatest passions beginning with founder of Burman & Fellows Group with longtime partner & confidant Scott Anderson, his Classy Chassis & Cycles motorcycle family & his faith as a member of the Apsley Community Church with his friend and fellow pastor John Trotter, Christian Victory, Faith Family Church, Church in the Woods and the founder of Provision for the Vision. Jon touched many lives and as such his brother Bart has written a beautiful tribute to him. Please read it below & we encourage you to leave public messages of love to the family for us all to read & share through the condolence button. Arrangements entrusted to THE HENDREN FUNERAL HOMES, LAKEFIELD CHAPEL. Cremation has taken place and, at Jon’s request, no services will be held at this time, however his family will plan a celebration of Jon’s life at a future date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations would be graciously appreciated to the Canadian Cancer Society or Autism Home Base Durham and can be made by visiting www.hendrenfuneralhome.com or by calling 705-652-3355.
Ode to a Brother
I watched a great man slip away from us all recently. I can still hear his voice in my head,
see his award winning smile,
and experience the contagious charisma that led countless acquaintances to perform to audacious standards set by a pioneer who never conceded defeat and always encouraged excellence in everything. Period.
As a younger brother, I looked up to my older brother Jon as larger than life itself. He broke all barriers and constantly challenged the status quo. To say my brother did anything half throttle would be blatantly untrue. I watched and admired from a distance (very quietly as I was more afraid of mom than he was) as he (to use our mother’s vernacular) “kicked the traces” throughout his teenage years and into his young adulthood. You see Jon needed to be resilient to make it through those early years in one piece; some early training to prepare him to tackle things head on, with no fear, and meet with repeated successes.
For Jon, there was no second place. A silver medalist in the Olympics was simply the best of all the losers. His focus on winning, complemented his zest for life in general, and, armed with complementary virtues, he created his own success factors, and lived his life as a shining example of faith based principles in action.
Countless stories, life experiences, phases and changes embodied the eclectic life of Jon Burman. Early diversions into dubious environs made his early life quite the roller coaster ride.
his early first job as a restaurant bus boy and server (at one time aboard VIA trains),
to learning his trade as a journeyman electrician,
to becoming a master electrician,
to starting his own business,
to growing that business to such a size that he was able to change direction,
sell his remaining interest in Electrical contracting
to then pursue his true love of motorcycles and the development of one of the most successful motorcycle shops in Canada
Jon did it all.
His Stallworth determination, his willingness to pursue the path less taken, his zeal for accepting risks no one else would ever conceive of taking, were all shining examples for those that chose to follow.
One of the reasons for his success was his inability to let things get stale and his pursuit of the next shinny thing. Motorcycles, jet boats, sail boats in Florida, multiple properties, baseball leagues, travel business in Kelowna, cottages, family trips on a cruise ship, overseas trips to Europe and England are just a few examples of the kinds of things that caught Jon’s eye. His philosophy was very much a build it and they will come kinda thing, and the man with the golden touch always made it work. Jon’s personality and approach with people in general was over the top. My two boys, Randy and Stewart can recall countless times and experiences with their Uncle Jon, splitting their sides laughing. If they weren’t laughing, he would torment them until they were. One of their experiences was a trip where Uncle Jon, Grandpa Jonny, took eight kids under the age of 10, single handedly on a trip to Florida as a special treat for the kids, a bonding moment in time, and a welcome relief for the parents. He simply did it because he could, and probably because no one else had considered it before.
Brother’s generosity knew no bounds. He was always first to pick up the tab, and I believe this to be consistent with being of service to others and paying it forward. Beyond the outward gestures and fun loving attitude, some may not be aware of his intellectual prowess. Jon was a deep thinker and together with his affinity for the scriptures, and teachings of the bible, he was able to unravel seemingly complex issues by simply refocussing efforts in tune with his fundamental beliefs.
As a husband, Jon’s love for Susan stems way back to the early sixties, when 2 high school sweethearts pledged their lifelong commitment to each other. Their recent renewal was celebrated by family and friends alike, and was witnessed as a match meant to be, as if no time had passed in their life journey together.
The products of their union were 2 adorable girls named Charlene and Colette who, go figure, remain the apple of his and his beautiful bride Susan’s eyes. Their mutual love for their father is evidenced by their tireless vigil they maintained while the greatest hero they will ever know fought the battle of his life. They are joined by their significant others, Josh and Joe, who have been instrumental in support of “Jonny Surprises”.
His grand kids have come to know of Grandpa Jonny as the life of any gathering or one on one interfaces they have had with him. Of special note was the remarkable relationship he had with his Grandson Kennedy. From the onset, Grandpa Jonny saw the way to communicate so richly with such a wonderful boy in a way that will never be forgotten. Zak steps into his Grandpa’s shoes with the kind of exuberance that will no doubt result in his continued success. Harley will continue to dazzle and amaze those around her, as she also scoffs at the status quo and challenges those who care for her to “kindly keep up” (sound like someone we know?). Chelsie has taken the risk of travelling to and now living in a far away foreign land, British Columbia. As you can see, there is a little bit of Jon Burman in each of them.
As Jon’s kid brother, I know I drew the short straw in trying to sum up and convey the entirety of the life of such an iconic man. I could only dream of capturing all the life experiences Jon has had and the incredible number of lives he has touched. One of my biggest challenges I had to face was the emotional breakdown which, as you can see, was inevitable. But here’s the thing. My emotions and frailties aside, I must confess that there were no straws. I was not asked to do this by any of the immediate family, and in fact, a long extensive elaboration of his life and times was certainly not what the family or Jon wanted or needed. Instead, I took a page from the book of Jon, spelled J O N (just so there is no confusion) and self motivated myself to pursue this most difficult path. I liken it to learning from the best.
His time with us and the phenomenal gifts he bestowed upon us all, no doubt will reside with us for the rest of our lives and play a huge role in how we see the world going forward. Being in the now with Jon was a special time and one in which we all will cherish.
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