William “Bill” Burnett completed his earthly journey and stepped into glory Tuesday, July 28, 2020. Bill was a dedicated husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather.
He was preceded in death by his parents U.Z. and Dorothy Breedlove Burnett and sister Patricia Simons.
He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Bunny; children Donald Guge (Barbara) and daughter Loretta, Michelle Brown (Tony) and children Dakota and Autumn, Tyra Lee Lambert (Joe) and children Caleb, Olivia, Karin and Quay. Bill didn’t tell his children how to live, he lived and let them Watch him do it. The last year of his life he got to enjoy his first great grandchild “Littleman”, Woodrow Brown.
He is also survived by his blended family Latasha Queen (Chris), Lindsey Ragsdale (Adam) Jake Richard (Meridith) and their families; Sisters Judy Burnett and Rebecca Nunnaley (Bob) and their families and a large, loving extended family and countless friends.
Bill’s life was one of service to Swain County and the State of North Carolina. He was a law enforcement officer in one capacity or another for 44 years serving as Deputy/Chief Deputy Swain Co. Sheriff’s Dept., Bryson City Police Department. Swain Co. Magistrate, EMT and Director of EMS, NC Emergency Response Team, Defensive Driving Instructor for Law Enforcement at SCC and Tri County.
His volunteer service includes Swain Co. Fire Dept. and Rescue Squad, Civil Air Patrol and he loved coaching Little League baseball. Bill was instrumental in establishing the SAFE House in Swain County serving on the initial Board of Directors.
His final service, of which he was very proud, was Child Support Enforcement Supervisor for the five most western counties in the state as well as the Cherokee Indian Reservation, establishing paternity and collecting child support for thousands of children.
Bill was an imposing figure, but a gentle giant and you never had to wonder which one you were dealing with. He was once told he was “too nice to be a cop” and described by someone as a mixture between John Wayne and Buford Pusser.
He was a master at story telling and recounting his many escapades kept listeners captivated and there was always a joke or two.
Genealogy research and climbing everyone’s family tree gave him many years of enjoyment after retirement. Chances are he could tell you how you were related to him even if it was 7th cousin, three times removed.
A memorial service was held at 4:00 pm Saturday in the chapel of Crisp Funeral Home. Rev. Paul R. Sale officiated.
The family received friends from 2:30 to 4 pm Saturday at the funeral home.
The family requested in lieu of flowers, please consider memorials in Bill’s name to Swain Cancer Support, PO Box 812, Bryson City, NC 28713