He was born Dec. 7, 1926, in Harland, Ky., to Joe Burkhart and Mallie (Sandland) Burkhart Spears.
He honorably served his Country in the United States Army in the 4605th Quartermaster Truck Co. (Heavy) as a Private First Class in the Pacific Theater from 1943 to 1945. On March 24, 1951, in Warsaw, Ind., he was united in marriage to Martha Avo Goble.
A local Pastor, with 58 years of service, he began in the Ministry in 1954 at The Gravel Road Church, Claypool, he later founded the Packerton Freewill Baptist Church, Packerton, the First Freewill Baptist Church, Claypool, and the Victory Christian Church, Warsaw, retiring in 2012. He received an Honorary Doctorate in Ministry from the Cornerstone Christian Church and Academy, Fort Wayne. In 1990 he received the “Man of the Year” Award through the Warsaw Chamber of Commerce.
His social and professional memberships include the Packerton Community Association and United Way of Kosciusko County through which he was instrumental in building the Packerton Community Association Building, the Kosciusko Child Protection Team, Martin Luther King Day Committee, the Freewill Baptist Conference, attending 75 times in a row, the Warsaw Ministerial Association and Habitat For Humanity. In addition, he and wife, Avo, operated a Food Bank serving the community in their Claypool home. In addition to full time ministry, Warsaw Plating Works, Litchfield Creamery/Milnot for 30 years, ISS Cleaning Services as a Supervisor, AMPI Cheese Company for five years and Warsaw Fabricating, formerly employed him for three years and Poultry Services for two years.
Survivors include his wife: Avo Burkhart, Claypool; children: Larry Joe (Gale) Burkhart, Warsaw, Brenda Kay (Robert) Haywood, Claypool, Wayne (Tina) Burkhart, Columbia City, Ind.; daughter-in-law: Dorothy Burkhart, Winona Lake, Ind.; brothers: Donald Burkhart and Saul (Katie) Burkhart, both of Warsaw; sister: Polley Countryman, Wilmington, Ohio; eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
His parents; sons: David Paul and Taylor Douglas Burkhart; brothers: Roy, Andrew, Gillis, Orville, Harley and Lee Burkhart and a sister: Myrtle Burkhart preceded him.
Visitation is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 30 at First Freewill Baptist Church, Claypool. A Celebration of Life Service will be conducted at 6 p.m. Sunday, with Pastors Terry Bradford, David Cripe and John Miller officiating. Interment will be private in Graceland Cemetery, Claypool, with Military Honors rendered by the Warsaw American Legion Post #49 and VFW Post #1126.
Memorial contributions may be made to:
Kosciusko County Community Foundation
102 E. Market St.
Warsaw, IN 46580
Arrangements are currently pending with McHatton-Sadler Funeral Chapel, Warsaw.