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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Obituary - Billy (Bill) Jerome Burgess

Billy (Bill) Jerome Burgess passed away on December 5, 2021 at age 94 with love and admiration from all who knew him. Bill was born in San Benito, Texas, on February 19, 1927 to Jerome Elmer (J.E.) and Montez Lain Burgess. His family moved to Cuba when he was young, and he often told stories about being raised on the United Fruit Company sugar cane plantation. He returned to the states in 1940, and settled in Clinton, MO with an Aunt & Uncle. While attending Clinton High School, he met the love of his life, Patricia Ann Burnett, and the two married on November 12, 1950.

Bill served in the U.S. Navy on LST #1044 as an Electricians Mate 3rd Class during World War II. When he returned home, he attended Kansas City University (UMKC). A salesman and entrepreneur, Bill held many roles during his successful career, most of it being spent in the grocery industry.

A man who never met a stranger, Bill was devoted to his family, his community, and his golf game. In Clinton, he served as president of both the Henry County Historical Society and the Chamber of Commerce; city councilman; chairman of the Henry County Republican Party; and devout member of the United Methodist Church. He, along with his late wife, established the “Bill J. and Patricia A. Burgess Fund” for the benefit of Henry County hospice patients.

The Boy Scouts were foundational to Bill’s life, and he held several leadership roles in the Lone Bear District over the course of 70 years, and he remained engaged as a major donor and fundraiser until the day of his passing. Bill established the annual Gus Wetzel golf tournament which has raised over half a million dollars for the benefit of the H. Roe Bartle Scout Reservation. In fact, H. Roe Bartle, former Mayor of Kansas City and a national Boy Scout leader, honored Bill by naming him “Black Diamond” in the Tribe of Mic-O-Say, and he received several prestigious awards over the years, including the Silver Beaver.

Bill is preceded in death by his parents and his late wife Patricia. He is survived by a family who promises to live by his wisdom and pass down his stories: Scott Burgess (Linda) of Springfield, Missouri, Kim Blumenthal (Ira) of Acworth, Georgia, and Terri Williams (Mike) of Clinton, Missouri; seven grandchildren (Michael, Eric, Laura, Jeffrey, Jenni, Kevin and Ryan); 12 great-grandchildren (Ethan, Shiloh, Mae, Beckett, Camden, Aliza, Benny, Piper, Laina, Anderson, Evelyn and Lucas); and his two brothers, Donald Lain Burgess and the Reverend Richard Lee Burgess.

Visitation will be at 1pm on Saturday, December 11, 2021 at the United Methodist Church (601 South Fourth Street, Clinton, Missouri) followed by a 2pm funeral service.

The family requests donations in Bill’s name be made to: BSA Troop 430, the Henry County Museum or the Clinton Animal Rescue Endeavor (CARE). Donations can be left with Consalus Funeral Home, 209 S. 2ND Street, Clinton, Missouri 64735