Joseph Richard Burt of Charleston, AR, known his whole life as Joe Dick, passed away on October 30, 2019 at 98 years young. Those who knew Joe Dick, knew that he never acted his age. In his 80’s and 90’s he could outwork grown men half his age. He cheated death many times in his life, but pancreatic cancer is what inevitably took this man who many thought to be immortal, and in a way, he is.
Joe Dick’s legacy will live on through the lives he influenced during his time on this Earth. He was well known for many things, but what makes him most memorable will always be his unbreakable work ethic, his willingness to help those in need, his love for the Charleston Tigers and the Razorbacks (win or lose), being a man of few words, and his loyalty and devotion to God and his family.
Joe Dick was a life-long farmer and rancher, but his first “real job” was driving a delivery truck all over the state for his father’s canning company. Even at 98 years old, he could remember the old truck routes he would take delivering canned goods 80 years earlier.
During World War II, he served in the army of occupation in Germany. After getting out of the Army in 1942, he went back to work on the family farm. Ten years later, in 1952, he met Elaine Cheek. They courted for seven years (neither he nor Elaine ever made a decision that wasn’t carefully thought out). She finally told him to come back with a ring or don’t come back at all. Being the smart man he was, a ring was waiting for her the very next day. They drove to Elaine’s home church in Oklahoma to be wed on August 2, 1959. Their only son was born over a year later on November 1, 1960.
Joe Dick remarked in his last days that he sure did not get cheated on time, and he was truly blessed to have had such a long and good life.
His life’s work can be seen just east of the Charleston city limits. He was the owner of Burt Farms and Burt Feed, LLC. His fondness for the great outdoors and for working his land was evident in his dedication to be at work every day.
Joe Dick was an active member of First Baptist Church of Charleston, serving as General Secretary of the FBC Sunday School for over 70 years. He was a 50 plus year Board member of Franklin County Farm Bureau, a member of the Cattlemen's Association, the FreeMasons, and was an active supporter of the Charleston community in many ways.
Joe Dick was born November 25, 1920 in Ratcliff, AR to Grace Smith Burt and Joseph A. Burt. He is preceded in death by his grandfather Leander J. Burt (1862-1929), his grandmother Sarah Burt, his younger brother, T.J. Burt (1923-1959), his father Joseph A. Burt (1896-1989) and his mother Grace Smith Burt. Following the pattern set by former Burt men, Joe Dick also passed in a year ending in 9.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Elaine Cheek Burt; one son, William Burt [Bill] and his wife Teresa of Springdale, AR; four grandchildren and spouses, Aaron Burt and wife Melissa, Elizabeth Burt Shelby and husband Colt, Brandon Burt and fiancée, Nikki, and Scarlett Burt; great-grandchildren, Anna and Fletcher Burt, JR Burt, Cooper Ewing, and Truett Shelby, sister-in-law Betty Burt of Fort Smith, and nephew, Rick Burt.
Pallbearers are Aaron Burt, Brandon Burt, Colt Shelby, Cooper Ewing, Howard Gossett, and Kevin Shotzman.
Family will receive friends Friday, November 1, at Smith Mortuary from 6PM to 7:30PM.
Funeral service will be held 2PM Saturday, November 2, at First Baptist Church Charleston, with burial to follow at Garden of Memories under the direction of Smith Mortuary.
Online condolences may be made at www.smithmortuaryinc.com
In lieu of flowers memorial may be made to First Baptist Church Building Fund, P.O. Box 297, Charleston, AR 72933.
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