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James Fredrick Burdette, 95, of Lake Ozark, MO, formerly of Waterloo, IO, died Thursday, April 3, 2020, at his home. He was born December 30, 1924, in Ringgold County, IA to Truman and Pauline (Kokesh) Burdette, on the farm where he eventually returned for his retirement career. Jim moved with his parents and younger brother, Clifton, to Blackhawk County when he was in high school. He farmed out of high school but ultimately joined the Army Air Corp because of his love for flying and aircraft and as a desired alternative to the draft. The day he graduated from his training as a flight engineer, WWII ended and he returned home without action but he always felt the time he served was a valuable experience.
He married Arlene Brockman in 1948 and they made their contributions to the Baby Boomer generation with Michael (1949), William (1950-1950), Linda (1951) and Jeffrey (1954). He farmed, worked as a lineman and ran an electrical shop before entering a successful career in car sales owning the Bi-Rite car lot and then Burdette Buick, both in Waterloo. The highlight of this era may have been enlisting his children to do the more menial tasks of the car business, but we did learn how to work for a perfectionist and all have an obsession with driving clean cars to this day.
Dad prided himself in getting his children educated before he sold his automobile dealership and purchased the farm originally owned by his granddad, Fred Kokesh, between Diagonal and Mount Ayr; this was his true passion in life. He spent many happy years raising his Black Angus herd, growing alfalfa, mending fences and waging war against thistle and erosion. He also believed strongly in helping friends and neighbors. He and Mom had fun introducing their grown children and then growing grandchildren to farm life and enjoyed spending multiple winters as Snow Birds in Arizona. Golf at the Mount Ayr Golf Club, monthly gatherings with their neighborhood club and time at the Mount Ayr Senior Center and Wishard Chapel were all precious to them both. As they aged out of farming, they moved into Mount Ayr for yet another (semi) retirement but Dad continued to manage the farm. Mom passed in 2014 after 65 years of marriage. Dad spent a fulfilling two years in Clearview Estates before moving to Lake Ozark to be cared for by family and friends.
He is survived by children Mike (Cindy), Linda (David Brown), Jeff (Kim); grandchildren Jason (Christina), Jessica (Mickey Uss), Andy (Karla Schultz), Alison (Josh Guggenheimer), Matt and Nick; and great grandchildren Jax, Wells, Stella and Finn. Sincere gratitude to Bob and Vicky Foreman for their love and care in Dad’s final years.
Graveside services and interment was in the Waterloo Memorial Park Cemetery on Tuesday, April 7, 2020.
Arrangements are under the direction of Millard-Rekus Family Funeral Chapel, 902 East North Street, Eldon, MO 65026 (573) 392-3351. Condolences may be left online for the family at

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