|Birth: ||Feb. 27, 1955|
|Death: ||Jul. 24, 2011|
CHAMPAIGN – Jon Buerkett, one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Central Illinois, was most proud of his wife, Dana, and his daughters, Ashley and Morgan. Buerkett, 56, of Champaign passed away July 24, 2011.
Mr. Buerkett was born Feb. 27, 1955, in Springfield to James Anthony and Betty Charlene (Brown) Buerkett. Mr. Buerkett graduated in 1973 from Champaign Centennial High School, where he was a standout baseball pitcher, setting a record for most strikeouts in a single season. Declining an offer to play professional ball with the San Francisco Giants' minor league team, he stayed in Champaign and began working at Melody Music. Just seven years later, he and his business partner purchased the company and through tireless work created the leading coin-operated music and amusement equipment business in the area. They also previously owned and operated the popular Pia's Sports Bar chain in Champaign and Rantoul.
He married Dana Ehler, the love of his life, on June 16, 1983, in Rantoul. Mr. Buerkett adored his wife and daughters, Ashley, 26, and Morgan, 19, and dedicated himself to ensuring that they could accomplish their dreams. From coaching his daughters' sports teams at Holy Cross Grade School to taking them boating in the Lake of the Ozarks, Mr. Buerkett was a dedicated family man. He shared his love of the water with his wife and daughters, and together, they enjoyed all water sports, including scuba diving, barefoot waterskiing and jet skis.
When he was not spending time in his beloved Ozarks, Buerkett also enjoyed winter sports, frequently racing down the slopes in Vail, Colo. He was as comfortable in the air as he was in the water, holding an instrument flight rules pilot's license for 20 years.
As accomplished and well-rounded as he was, he found his greatest joy in the many accomplishments of his wife and daughters. He kept a framed sketch drawn by Ashley on his desk at work and was quick to share it with visitors, pointing out her artistry and talent with great pride. He cheered on Morgan as she became a nationally prominent volleyball player, and he admired his wife's creativity and drive in starting her own successful marketing firm.
Mr. Buerkett has been described as a serial entrepreneur, having invested in the Hawthorne Suites, Sun Properties and Star Subs, while continuing his role at Melody Music. His business acumen was surpassed only by his willingness to mentor others who wanted to start their own companies. Several successful entrepreneurs credit Mr. Buerkett not only with providing them seed funding, but also with advice and support.
Although his life was much too short, Jon Buerkett lived it fully - enjoying every minute, seeing the positive in even the most difficult situations, and loving his wife and daughters with all his heart.
He was preceded in death by his father, James Anthony Buerkett. He was joined in death by his wife, Dana, and daughter, Morgan, and is survived by his daughter, Ashley Buerkett of Chicago, as well as his mother, Betty Charlene (Jack) Hathaway, of Champaign; two brothers, Mike (Jennifer) of Champaign and Dennis (Jan) of Champaign; a niece, Karlee, of Champaign; and nephews Will, of Chicago and Kyle, who is attending the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky.
Visitation is scheduled from 4 until 8 p.m. Friday, July 29, at The High School of Saint Thomas More in Champaign. A private memorial service will be held. Memorial contributions may be made to the National Brain Tumor Society, 124 Watertown St., Suite 2D, Watertown, MA. 02472, in honor of family friend Toby Herges of Champaign, who continues to battle a brain tumor. Morgan Memorial Home, Savoy, is handling arrangements.
Family and friends may see more information and sign the guestbook here: http://1000memories.com/jonanthonybuerkett
James A Buerkett (1927 - 1959)
Dana Lee Ehler Buerkett (1964 - 2011)*
Morgan Lee Buerkett (1992 - 2011)*
Maintained by: Ashley Buerkett
Originally Created by: Klaus from Germany
Record added: Sep 23, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 76971337