John H. Burrus, age 79, and longtime resident of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, passed away on August 21, 2021, in Bartlesville.
John Hubert Burrus was born in Pryor, Oklahoma, on September 23, 1941. He was the son of Hubert Burrus and Violet Virginia (Gravitt) Burrus. He spent his very early years in Nowata, Oklahoma living on the farm with his maternal grandparents. At approximately six years of age, he moved to Oklahoma City to live with his mother. He received his early education in Oklahoma City, attending Classen High School. At age 16, he moved to Salina, Oklahoma to live with his uncle and aunt, Homer and Billie Burrus.
John graduated from Salina High School with the Senior Class of 1960 and later, after moving to Bartlesville, he received his Associates Degree from Coffeyville Junior College, Coffeyville, Kansas. While living in Salina and attending high school there, he met the love of his life, Retha Fae Brown, and they were married on December 25, 1960, in Salina First Baptist Church. John was employed with Phillips Petroleum Company in Ft. Stockton, Texas, where they made their first home. Their son, Stephen John, was born while living in Texas. In 1964, John was re-employed with Phillips, and he and the family moved to what they have since lovingly called “their hometown of Bartlesville,” where their daughter, Tanya, was born, and where they raised their family.
John was a member of the Salina First Baptist Church. He had a lifelong interest in classic cars and really anything that had ever had a motor and wheels. He collected everything automotive from cars, trucks and motors to the smallest car part. In his early years, John could do (or would try to do) almost anything, such as rebuilding many rusted-out cars (including bodywork, painting, etc.); remodeling houses; and the big one, building the home where he and Retha would live for the past 45 years prior to his death.
In 1994, John was diagnosed with a severe heart problem that could only be fixed by a heart transplant. He was placed on the transplant list and waited three years until the call came that there was a heart available for him. The family traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, where he received his new heart at Emory University Hospital on April 15, 1997. After he regained his health, he worked as an over-the-road semi-truck driver and his last employment was with Bartlesville Public School System as a school bus driver. John loved life and his friends but what he enjoyed most was his family and being with them.
He was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife, Retha, of the family home; son, Stephen John “Steve” Burrus and his wife Kelly Kay, of Plainview, Texas; daughter, Tanya Stokes and her husband Michael Ray, of Bartlesville; five grandchildren, Stephen John Burrus II and his companion Kara, of Lubbock, Texas, Michael Christopher Burrus of Plainview, Texas, Rachael Kay Foster of Lubbock, Texas, Cody Austin Stokes and wife Hanna Jo, of Yukon, Oklahoma, and Courtney Rechelle Viles and husband Josh, of Bartlesville; four great-grandsons, Aiden Cole Dunlap, Tucker Owen Dunlap, Wyatt Luke Foster, and Michael “Mikie” Christopher Burrus II; great-granddaughter, Chandler Kate Viles; and sister, Helen Antonette “Toni” Barrett of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He is also survived by many cousins and other relatives who he loved dearly.
For those who would like to contribute to a charity in John’s name, the family suggests the American Heart Association, 12345 N. Lamar Blvd., Suite 200, Austin, TX 78753, or the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation, 5110 S. Yale Ave., #415, Tulsa, OK 74135.
Family visitation will be held on Wednesday, September 1, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Arnold Moore & Neekamp Funeral Home, 710 S. Dewey Ave., Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
Services will be held Thursday, September 2, at 2:00 p.m. in the Arnold More & Neekamp Funeral Home Chapel. Services will be live streamed on Arnold Moore & Neekamp Funeral Home’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/Arnold-Moore-Neekamp-Funeral-Home-469125963838151. Inurnment of the cremains will be in the Fairview Cemetery, Pryor, Oklahoma, at a later date to be determined by the family. Online condolences can be left at www.honoringmemories.com