Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service

Darwin Burnett

September 14, 1929 ~ November 28, 2018

Darwin Burnett passed away November 28, 2018, in Bozeman, Montana. He was known for his friendly nature and expressions of gratitude. Aesop wrote, “Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.”

Darwin Eugene Burnett was born to George Randall Burnett and Margaret (Thomas) Burnett on September 14, 1929, in Shelley, Idaho. In childhood he lived in Bannack, Twin Bridges, and Sheridan, Montana. A wooden desk in the Bannack school where he attended first grade is suspiciously etched with his initials.

After graduating from Sheridan High School, he enlisted in the Air Force, serving as an airplane mechanic during the Korean War. He met Barbara Jean Miller at a fraternity party at Montana State College and they married in Sheridan on December 23, 1951.

At the urging of two of his brothers and Barbara, he attended Montana State College and graduated with a plan to teach shop in high schools.

During the college years, Darwin and Barbara bought twenty acres in Bear Canyon eight miles east of Bozeman and built a cabin using recycled lumber from a chicken barn and linoleum salvaged from a decommissioned battleship. There they lived with the first three of their nine children.

Darwin taught in Whitewater, Baker, Deer Lodge, and Bozeman, Montana, and Ogden, Utah. He was a beloved teacher. One student wrote, “I would like to thank you once again for being my teacher. You were a role model for me, an example of the kind of man I wanted to be someday--kind to others, serious about work, shy and respectful, with a sense of humor, and smart. You were all those things as a teacher. Words cannot express my gratitude for what you gave us.” High school students in Baker dedicated the yearbook to him.

He served the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in various capacities including missionary, branch president, and bishop’s counselor.

After retiring from teaching, Darwin and Barbara operated a bed and breakfast and a sawmill; they also worked in the salmon canning industry in Valdez, Alaska. They served four full-time church missions: in Mexico twice, and once each in Argentina and Chile.

When not in their Bear Canyon home, or on one of their fourteen tours of Alaska, or traveling to visit family members spread from Minnesota to San Diego, they resided in their winter home in Quartzsite, Arizona. Through missions, reunions, dances, music jams, and constant traveling, Darwin and Barb made friends from Nuiqsut, Alaska to Concepcion, Chile.

Darwin’s goodwill was exemplary. He was independent, resourceful, helpful, happy, gregarious, and again, grateful. He was “easy to be intreated,” and proof that the meek shall inherit the earth.

Darwin is survived by his wife, Barbara; children, Rhyll (Steven) Croshaw, Tom (Melani) Burnett, Del (Kevin) Searle, George (Christy) Burnett, Marta (Bruce) Rigby, Ross (Rebecca) Burnett, Shauna (Jeanne) Sticht, Dawn (Reed) Frandsen, Heidi (Jon) Obray; brother, Keith (Marlene) Burnett; sister-in-law, Patricia Burnett; forty-five grandchildren; forty-eight great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be held Friday, December 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service and Saturday, December 8 from 9:30 to 10:15 a.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Colter Ave with a funeral service to follow at 10:30 a.m. Interment will follow at 3:30 p.m. at the Sheridan Cemetery, Sheridan, MT.