Gerald C. (Jerry) Burkhart, 81, passed away peacefully on September 2, 2018, as a result of cancer. He was born Jan. 19, 1937, on a farm near Offerle, Kansas, the son of Adam Burkhart and Veda Hertel, and graduated from St. Mary of the Plains in Dodge City, Kansas.
After he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in November 1962, having served in Florida and Iceland, he moved to Boulder, Colo., and was associated with Guaranty Mortgage and Realty Corporation developing the Olde Stage Road Subdivision.
Development of mountain properties was in its infancy at that time, and he soon became known as the “mountain expert.” His sage advice was often sought by his associates and real estate professionals both in Colorado and in Montana. He joined Homestead Realty & Associates and became Manager of their Mountain Properties Division and then, in 1968, opened his own real estate business, Frontier Real Estate.
He organized a group of investors/partners and purchased/developed numerous properties over the next 30 years, the first being in Crowley County, Colo., part of the Soil Bank Program. In Boulder County, he developed Aspen Meadows Ranch, the Hendricks Ranch, High Meadows Ranch, the Porter Ranch, the Gold Farm, Mountain Meadows Subdivision, Davison Property in Sunshine Canyon, and Darvey Farms. In Ft. Collins, he developed 120 acres near the Hewlett Packard Plant and, in Durango, the Tibbets River Ranch. In Boulder, he developed Parkside Subdivision and Grapewood Subdivision.
Starting in 1969, he purchased, improved, developed and sold approximately 12,000 acres in Montana: Valley View Farms, Goat Mountain Ranch, Brackett Creek Ranch, Logan Creek Ranch, Lazy JR Ranch, Meadow Creek Ranch, and Rolling Meadows Ranch. He invested in and renovated various commercial income properties in Colorado and Montana that included office, retail and residential apartments. In addition, he developed Eagle Rock Properties at Big Sky, Montana.
Jerry married Martha Wiesner in 1957; they were divorced and she preceded him in death in 2017. He married Bonnie Woydziak on July 7, 1973. Jerry is survived by his wife, Bonnie; children Jerry Burkhart, Jr., Robert Burkhart, Jeanne Burkhart, Steve Burkhart, Theresa Haley, Tim Burkhart, Chris Burkhart, and Brad Burkhart; 12 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren; and brother Merle Burkhart of Jacksonville, Florida. Three of his sons, Thomas, Daniel, and David, preceded him in death. His parents, stepfather Gabriel Blottner, and brothers Paul, Lawrence, Dennis and a sister, Rosemary, preceded him in death.
Jerry’s adventurous spirit found him on an abundance of road trips spanning the northernmost tip of the continent to Central and South America. As a lover of all things aeronautical, he obtained his pilot’s license in the early 1970s. Meteorology, music and space research were all on his palette. With a fondness for exploring the world, he and Bonnie shared frequent domestic and international trips, the two most recent to Hawaii and a cruise throughout Europe.
Jerry embraced nature in all its beauty and all its forces, loving torrential downpours, lightning flashes and thunderstorms, and deep, silent blankets of snow. By his friends, he is characterized as a man of great integrity, honesty, compassion and kindness. By his family, he is characterized as a gentle soul, a man of strength and tender, enduring love.
Private services will be held, and burial will be in St. Catherine’s Cemetery in Dubuque, Kansas. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Jerry’s memory to Habitat for Humanity.
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, Sept. 16, 2018