Joseph's Story

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The sweetest man in the world, our dad, pop, and great-grandpa, Joseph E. Burnell, 95, formerly of Trudo Road, Altona, passed away Monday, Oct. 30, 2017 at Meadowbrook Healthcare Facility, with his loving family by his side.
Joe was born in Cadyville on May 17, 1922, the son of Arthur and Cecilia (Ayotte) Burnell. He married the love of his life, Millie (Ormsby), on July 4, 1953 at the First United Methodist Church in Plattsburgh.
Joseph attended Cadyville, Dannemora, and Peru Schools.
Joe was a World War II veteran and former POW, having served in the United States Army from 1942-1945. He was a charter member of Peru VFW Post #309, and a lifetime member of Plattsburgh VFW Post#120, and American Legion Post#20, also in Plattsburgh. For many years, he volunteered as a van driver for Clinton County Veterans Services, driving fellow veterans to Albany so they could access medical services. Joe was thrilled to be able to go to Washington D. C. on the second trip of North Country Honor Flight in June, 2013. He was honored to be awarded a variety of medals for his WWII service during a ceremony on Veteran's Day, also in 2013.
Joe became a member of the Clinton Masonic Lodge #155 in 1968, was a member of the Eastern Star and the Shriners, and danced with the North Country Squares square dance club for over 40 years. As a Shriner, he dressed as a clown for many a summertime parade. For the North Country Squares, Joe and Millie were King and Queen of the Apple Blossom Festival in 1973, and, for many years, Joe was the chief pancake flipper for the North Country Squares annual pancake breakfast at Sangers Sugar House in West Chazy.
Joe was a hard worker and was employed in many jobs over his lifetime including millworker, taxi driver, apple picker, and school bus driver. He retired from civilian work at Plattsburgh Air Force Base in 1977 and retired again after many more years as bookmobile driver for the Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library System.
Joe loved driving, square dancing, bowling, cribbage, pinochle, traveling, baseball, clowning, and almost any card game. He would talk to everybody. He could be found most weekday mornings playing "cribbage with the guys" in the food court at the mall, and then walking the perimeter of the mall with his good friend, Archie. Joe was fun, playful, loving, and always a gentleman. He adored his family.
Survivors include his daughters, Beverly Burnell of Altona and Susan and Jarry Barton of Wilmington; son, Edward and Laura Burnell of Morrisonville; brother, Herbert and Gladys Burnell of Champlain; sisters, Betty Miller of Ellenburg Center and Liz and Joe Miller of Bridgeport, N.Y.; his granddaughters, Michelle and Kenneth Lunde of Barre, Vt., and Elizah Hatch of Plattsburgh; grandsons, Joseph and Anthony Hatch of Catskill, N.Y., and Ian Burnell of Jay; his great-grandchildren, Tai-ann, Phoebe, Alexis, and Donaven of Plattsburgh; and many nieces and nephews.
He lost his beloved wife, Millie, in 1985; and was also predeceased by his parents; his brothers, Donald and Eugene Burnell; and his sisters, Marjorie Dupraw and Esther Moore.
Calling hours will be held on Thursday, Nov. 2nd from 4 to 6 p.m. at the R.W. Walker Funeral Home. Funeral services will follow at 6 p.m.
Entombment will take place Friday, Nov. 3rd at 9 a.m. at Whispering Maples Memorial Gardens, Ellenburg Depot.
Memorial donations may be made to the North Country Honor Flight, Shriners Children's Hospital, Wounded Warriors Project, the Meadowbrook Activities Fund or the Masonic Lodge Brotherhood Fund.
To share a photo, story, or condolence with Joe's family, please visit www.rwwalkerfh.com.
Arrangements have been entrusted into the care of the R.W. Walker Funeral Home, 69 Court Street, Plattsburgh, NY 12901. (518) 563-1760.
Published on October 31, 2017
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