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September 28, 2006

Obituary: Dr. David Ronald Burnette

Retired county Extension director, district director

Dr. David Ronald Burnette
died Mon., Sept. 25, after a decade of courageously fighting cancer. He was born on Nov. 19, 1940, in the Brush Creek Community of Swain County, North Carolina, to Don and Jessie Howard Burnette.

Following in the steps of mentoring professionals who visited the small mountain farm where he grew up, Burnette graduated from Berry College in 1963 with a degree in business agriculture. After spending a year on active duty with the Army Reserve, he took a job with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Mitchell County and later moved to Burke County.

Upon completing a master's degree in 1972, he worked as a state 4-H specialist in bicycle and traffic safety. While living in Raleigh, he completed work toward a Doctor of Adult Education degree at N.C. State University and came to Buncombe County to serve as county Extension chairman in 1975. In 1980, David was appointed Western district Extension director. He retired from that position in 1995. He achieved much success as district director. He received many awards including election into the Western North Carolina Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1999. After retirement, he started Wildcat Fraser Fir Christmas Tree Farm in Swain County.

He retired from the Army Reserves in 2000 with a rank of Lt. Colonel. Until recently he volunteered with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve program, assuring that men and women who have served their country on active duty are treated fairly when re-entering their civilian jobs as well as educating employers of the federal rules.

Burnette was a supporter of the Red Cross, giving many gallons of blood through the years. When cancer prevented him from donating blood, he worked in their canteens and drove blood products to and from Charlotte for testing.

Burnette was an enthusiastic member of the Kiwanis Club of Asheville, serving for two terms as a Distinguished President. He went on to serve as District 1-A Lt. Governor. In 1999, he completed a term as Distinguished Governor of the Carolinas District.

In 1964, he married Carol Winfrey of Tobaccoville, N.C. Perhaps his greatest achievement was that of wonderful father to their beloved daughter, Rebecca Caroline Burnette of Enka, N.C. His wife and daughter as well as three brothers and four sisters, their spouses, and numerous nieces and nephews whom he loved survive him. His brothers are Richard Burnette of Franklin, Roy Burnette, and Arnold Burnette of Brush Creek. His sisters are Revena Cook of Franklin, Dorothy Marr of Brush Creek, Bonnie Lawrence of Ohio, and Rachel Perdue of Virginia.

Visitation will be held on Thursday evening, Sept. 28 from 5:30 to 8:00 pm at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church of which he was a member, 789 Merrimon Avenue, Asheville, 828.254.3274. The funeral service will be held at 1 p.m., Friday, Sept. 29, at Grace Covenant. Interment will be at 4 p.m. at Tabor Cemetery in the Brush Creek community of Swain County, about one mile off Highway 28. Morris Funeral Home, 304 Merrimon Avenue, Asheville, 828.252.1821, is in charge of the arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to The Presbyterian Home for Children, 90 Lake Eden Road, Black Mountain, N.C. 28711. Donations may also be made to the following college scholarship endowed by David and Carol. Dr. David and Mrs. Carol Burnette 4-H Scholarship for the Western Region, N.C. 4-H Development Fund, 512 Brickhaven, Raleigh, N.C. 27695.

Cards can be sent to: 25 Griffing Circle, Asheville, NC 28804

Posted by Natalie at September 28, 2006 08:54 AM