Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Obituary: Donald "Gus" Burwell - Class of 1944

MADISON - Donald "Gus" Burwell, age 77, passed away at his home on Monday, Sept. 20, 2004, after a courageous battle with asbestosis and cancer. He was born on Nov. 6, 1926, in Madison, the son of Earl and Ghea Burwell. Gus was a lifelong Madisonian and a 1944 graduate of Central High. He enlisted in the Navy and served as a Seabee in the South Pacific. Upon completion of military service he became a master electrician and was a part of the construction of many of Madison's well-known buildings. Gus married Nancy Davis in 1956. She passed away in 1973. Gus is most known for his contributions to local baseball, his passion. He was a longtime player, manager and commissioner in the Madison Recreation leagues, winning numerous city and state titles in both fastpitch softball and basketball. Gus was a longtime member of The Madison Dug-out Club, serving as banquet chairman for the annual Greater Madison Brewer Banquet for more than 20 years. He also served as general manager for the Avenue Bar semi-pro baseball teams for 12 years, winning the state title in 1993. For his accomplishments, Gus was enshrined in the Madison Sports Hall of Fame this past June, an honor he truly cherished. Gus was a great family man, always there when needed to offer support and praise. For that, we are truly grateful. He especially enjoyed spending time with his three grandsons watching them grow to become successful adults. Dad, you leave a void in our collective hearts but we know that you have gone on to a special place to be with Mom. Survivors include sons, Mark (Kathi) of Appleton, Steve (Paula) of Rockford, and Chris (Jackie) of Waunakee; grandsons, Shawn (Angie), Brett and Ryan; and sister, Dorothy (Don) Annen of Madison. He was preceded in death by his parents; and wife, Nancy. The family would like to extend thanks to Sheryl and the staff at HospiceCare Inc. and to caregivers Nancy, Ally and Karin- "Gus' Angels." Visitation is from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2004, at CRESS FUNERAL HOME, 6021 University Ave. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2004, at ST. MARK'S LUTHERAN CHURCH, 605 Spruce St., with Pastor Mary Pharmer officiating. Burial will follow at Forest Hill Cemetery. Cress Funeral & Cremation Service 6021 University Ave. (608) 238-8406

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on September 22, 2004

Baseball Booster Burwell Dies At 77

Gus Burwell, the driving force behind all matters baseball in thea rea for decades and a recent inductee to the Madison Sports Hall of Fame,died Monday after a fight with asbestosis and cancer. He was 77.

Burwell was best known in recent years as the chairman of the annual Greater Madison Brewer Banquet, a post he held for more than 20 years. As a key member of The Madison Dug-Out Club, he was also intensely involved with the defunct University of Wisconsin baseball program and promotion of the game at the grassroots level. A Madison native and graduate of Central High School, Burwell was a long time player, manager and commissioner on the city recreational leagues. For 12 years, he served as general manager of the Avenue Bar's semi-pro team, which was the summer home of many Badger players, including future major-leaguers Rodney Myers and Lance Painter. He guided Avenue Bar to the Wisconsin State League title in 1993.

In June, he became a member of the Hall of Fame, an honor he cherished."This is the pinnacle of everything I've done," he told The Capital Times then. "It makes me feel like I've done something for other people."

A visitation is scheduled today between 4 and 7 p.m. at Cress Funeral Home,6021 University Ave. Funeral services will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. at St.Mark's Lutheran Church, 605 Spruce St.

Originally published as a news story in the sports section of The Capital Times on September 22, 2004

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