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E C. ‘Burk’ Burkhardt

E C. “Burk” Burkhardt, (Burk) 92, of Vicksburg, died Dec. 19, 2020, at Baptist Hospital in Jackson. He was known as “Burk” to his many friends and business associates.

In 1945, after graduating from high school, he joined the U.S. Navy and served his country until the end of World War Two. In 1950, he graduated from Auburn University with a degree in forestry and moved to Rolling Fork, where he worked for the U.S. Forest Service for a year.

In 1951, he went to work as a forester for Anderson-Tully Co., serving until 1982, at which time he retired and became a very successful, highly sought-after forester and land surveyor until his second retirement in 2012.

His father, Walter, was an award-winning, nationally recognized professor of design architecture at Auburn University. His mother, Varian, was an English major and a high school English teacher. She was also an award-winning author of Alabama Antebellum Homes, which was published over several years by the Birmingham News from 1934 through 1937.

Both of his parents graduated from Washington State University with bachelor’s degrees and his father also obtained a master’s degree in design architecture from Columbia University.

Burk was born in Gainesville, Fla., and had lived in Auburn, Ala., Rolling Fork, Memphis, Tenn., Port Gibson, and had been a resident of Warren County since 1962.

The true love in his professional life was forestry, where he dedicated much of his life to hardwood Silviculture, which is the art and science of controlling the establishment, growth, composition, health and quality of hardwood forest vegetation. He also helped further define and develop a subset of Silviculture called Stand Dynamics, which is the study of the changes of specific stands of trees over time due to events like growth, weather, fire, pests, wildlife and environmental changes.

During his professional career, he authored and co-authored numerous articles pertaining to Hardwood Silviculture, Hardwood Forest Management and Stand Dynamics. As a consultant, he participated in numerous short courses, seminars and research projects on Hardwood Silviculture, forest management and Stand Dynamics in conjunction with Mississippi State University School of Forest Resources, with world-renowned Silviculturist, Dr. Chad Oliver, and with Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Additionally, he was very interested in the research that was being done at the USDA Forest Service research lab in Stoneville and was involved with several studies over the years, co-authoring several research publications with the scientists at the Stoneville research lab. Burk was recognized for his dedication to and accomplishments in Hardwood Forest Management and Silviculture by several peer groups and hardwood forest research organizations and was made an Honorary Colonel by Gov. Bill Waller for his accomplishments, contributions and promotion of forestry in Mississippi.

He was one of the very first registered foresters and registered land surveyors in Mississippi and was a charter member of the Southern Hardwood Forestry Group founded in 1951 and the Southern Hardwood Forest Research Group founded in 1953.

As a dad, there was none better. Words like “outstanding” and “fantastic” do not go far enough in describing the man he was. He was always available, no matter what. If you needed help, he was there. If you just needed to talk, he was there. He always had time or made time for his sons and as a testament of his commitment to his sons, all three became Eagle Scouts due to his love, encouragement, commitment and support.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Nancy Sparling Burkhardt; and his son, Charles E. Burkhardt, (Shelby) of Starkville.

He is survived by two sons, Richard Burkhardt (Barbara) of Columbus and Michael Burkhardt (Melanie) of Parker County, Texas; four grandchildren, Mary Katherine McNeel, (Colby), Jamie E. Burkhardt, Hawes Burkhardt and Amanda Payne (Joseph); and four great-grandchildren, Burklee McNeel, Charles Grayson McNeel, Remington Coffman and Jaxon Payne.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID crisis there will be no memorial service at this time.

Memorials may be made to The Charles Burkhardt Memorial Fund (Forestry Related) MSU Foundation, Attn: Charlsie Halford, P.O. Box 9680, MS State, MS 39762.

War Eagle, Dad! Godspeed! Thanks for being who you were, for your love and support and for always being there. You are loved and missed!