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James Arthur "Jay" Burnett, 64, of Pleasant Hill, Missouri, was born Thursday, October 9, 1947 in Harrisonville, the son of Arthur and Geraldine (Hon) Burnett. He departed this life at 3:19 p.m. on Monday, October 31, 2011 at his home in Pleasant Hill, surrounded by family.
Jay was a 1965 Pleasant Hill High School Graduate and earned his bachelor's degree from Pittsburg State University, Class of 1973. He worked for and was a member of the Shepherd of the Hills Troop and Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO. Jay was a radio disc jockey for stations in Missouri, Kansas, and South Carolina. He went to work for the Social Security Administration as a Claims Authorizer. He retired in March 2010 after 34 years with the Social Security Administration. He was a member of the American Bee Keepers Association and the MOTO GUZZI National Owners Club.
On June 9, 2001, Jay was united in marriage with Patrice Anne Proehl in Pittsburg, Kansas.
Jay's children wrote: Dad was an unconventional man who contributed in making his unique children. He was a born entertainer who always had a story to tell. Dad accepted us for who we are, always encouraging never discouraging. He taught us many tangible and intangible things, the most important being to love life and to find our joy. He showed us that love has no end or limit and neither does family. We take comfort in the fact that his greatest joy was building our family. And we know he will live on through us always.
Patrice wrote: Jay was a unique person whose wit, wisdom and lust for life was graciously given to each person he encountered. Despite years of working 60+ hours a week, he still found time to give his children quality time and encourage their own special talents. He enjoyed multiple hobbies including beekeeping which allowed his other gardening skills to thrive. He planted and managed his orchard of pear trees, blackberries, tomatoes, daffodils, irises, roses, and tulips. Jay admired and personally displayed the history and culture of tattoo art; earning multiple awards for various artists that had contributed to his body's canvas. He thoroughly enjoyed motorcycle touring and travelling to unexplored domains. Jay's most rewarding hobby of all was nurturing those around him to follow their hearts as he had throughout his life on this planet. Jay is the most compassionate person I have ever met, teaching every person he came in contact with the meaning of unconditional love.
He was preceded in death by his parents and brother-in-law Tom Proehl.
Jay is survived by his wife Patrice of the home; four sons Paul Burnett and John (Jenna) Burnett both of St. Louis, Pete (Caroline) Burnett and Joe (Molly) Burnett both of Kansas City; four daughters Anne (Renee) Burnett of Chicago, Mary (Sara) Burnett of Kansas City, and Heather VanZant and Amber (Danny) Bernhardt of Pleasant Hill; four grandchildren MsZayah, Azasay, Angus, and Hamish; his brother Dr. William (Kathy) Burnett and their children Christina & Andrew of Buford, GA; as well as many other relatives and friends.
A Celebration of Jay's life was held Sunday, November 13, 2011, at the funeral home. Reverend D. Kent Deubner minister of the Pleasant Hill First Christian Church officiated.
Memorial contributions are suggested to Cancer Action and may be sent in care of the funeral home.