First Responders 04

John Albert Burken

August 20, 1939 ~ August 8, 2021 (age 81)


John Burken, 81, of DeWitt, Iowa, passed away Sunday, August 8, 2021, at Maggie’s House in DeWitt.

John Albert Burken was born August 20, 1939, in Naperville, Illinois, to the late William and Marjorie (James) Burken. He was a 1958 graduate of DeWitt High School. On August 26, 1961, John married Janet Marie Ryan at St. Joseph Catholic Church, DeWitt, where they were longtime members. The couple resided in DeWitt raising their five children.

John joined the DeWitt Fire Department in 1960 and served for 54 years as a volunteer firefighter, of which 33 were as fire chief. He worked for many years in the grocery business including Krukow’s, Skeffington’s, where he learned to cut meat, and 43 years at Barnes Foodland.

Surviving are his children, Marsha (Scott) McConnell of Castle Rock, Colorado, Mike (Alicia) Burken of Grand Mound, Larry (Mary Beth) Burken of Cedar Falls, Karen (Todd) McWilliams of DeWitt, and Wade (Julie) Burken of DeWitt; grandchildren, Paula (Ryan) Foreman, Sarah McConnell, Rebecca McConnell, Katie Burken, Tom Burken, Bobby Burken, Ellie Burken, Grace Burken, Sam Burken, Will Burken, Taylor (Matt) Kilian, Matthew McWilliams, Javier Burken, Joseph Burken, Molly Burken, and Jack Burken; great-grandchildren, Noah Foreman, Allie Foreman, Emma Foreman, and Lauren Foreman; siblings, Laverne “Ed” (Bonnie) Burken and Mark (Jerri) Burken; sisters-in-law Charlene Ryan, Lenore McGuire, Joyce Spindler, Doris (Milt) Anderson, Pauline Burken, and Sandy Burken; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Preceding John in death were his wife of nearly 59 years, an infant grandson Jacob Daniel Burken, his brothers, Ben Burken and Leonard Burken, and brothers-in-law, Don Ryan, Bob Ryan, Ralph Ryan, David Ryan, and Charlie Ryan.

Visitation will be from 4:00 until 7:00 p.m. Thursday, August 12, 2021, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, DeWitt. A Funeral Mass for John, together with a Memorial Mass for Janet, who preceded him in death April 27, 2020, will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, August 13, 2021, in the church, Fr. Stephen Page officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. DeWitt Volunteer Fire Department will serve as pallbearers. Grandchildren will be honorary pallbearers.

Memorials are suggested to the DeWitt Fire Department.

To send flowers to John's family, please visit our floral store.


August 12, 2021

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
St. Joseph Catholic Church
417 6th Ave
DeWitt, IA 52742

Funeral Service
August 13, 2021

10:30 AM
St. Joseph Catholic Church
417 6th Ave
DeWitt, IA 52742

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