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Robert Leslie Burgess passed away peacefully at home, comforted by family on February 4, 2021. He was born in Saginaw on February 21, 1930 to the late Claude and Eva Burgess.   On September 22, 1956, he married the love of his life, Sandra Jean Kiesling, of Bath, Michigan.


Bob served his country proudly as a Hospital Corpsman in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War.  Upon returning to civilian life he worked in the transportation industry, as a driver for Dial-a-Ride, and as a school bus driver for the public school system.  He lived a very full life, both working and playing hard.  His greatest gift to family and friends was his unique sense of humor.  He overcame much adversity in life by looking for the positive and the absurd in every person and experience.  When asked how he was doing, Bob would inevitably reply, “Just ducky!” to the end of his days.


Bob is survived by his wife Sandra Burgess, children Chery Schneck, Debbie Sweebe, Terri Nihil, Dawn Searson, and Michael Burgess, 10 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren.


Cremation has taken place and no service will be held. The family would like to thank Medilodge of Midland and Grace Hospice for the loving care Bob received from their staff.  Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider donations in Bob’s name to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Make a Wish Foundation, or Shriner’s Hospital for Children.


The following poem captures what Bob’s family believes he would say to all who knew and loved him.


When I’m Gone

When I come to the end of my journey

And I travel my last weary mile,

Just forget if you can, that I ever frowned

And remember only the smile.


Forget unkind words I have spoken;

Remember some good I have done,

Forget that I ever had a heartache

And remember I’ve had loads of fun.


Forget that I have stumbled and blundered

And sometimes fell by the way.

Remember I have fought

Some hard battles and won,

Ere the close of the day,


Then forget to grieve for my going,

I would not have you sad for a day,

But in summer just gather some flowers

And remember the place where I lay


And come in the evening

When the sun paints the sky in the west,

Stand for a few moments beside me

And remember only my best.


Smith-Miner Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Burgess family; to share a special memory please visit www.smithminer.com.

Condolence Messages

  1. Clair Mercier

    11 February 2021 5 months ago

    Grandpa taught me more than he will ever know. I was lucky to spend a lot of time with him. He taught me not to have favorites but to learn to love everyone for who they are. He taught me that even angels make mistakes. He taught me to enjoy absolutely nothing if that’s what I had. He would share all that he could with us even if it was just time.

    He also taught this to all of us in the family. We were all his favorite. We can all recite his sayings and remember his goofy love of life.

    One of my most treasured memories in life was a lazy Saturday when him and I spent the day just sitting on the deck at their cottage and talking about anything and everything.
    He told me a story about korea (which he rarely even mentioned)
    Every day he would walk across the town he was stationed in to the G.I. tent to get rations. He would walk back every day eating the pop tarts that came with his rations. One day he sees a little girl sitting on the step of a dilapidated house looking a mess and quiet hungry. He tells me he sat down one day and guestures to the girl to take one of his two pop tarts. The rest of the time he was stationed there he shared his pop tarts with that little girl. They never spoke just enjoyed each other’s company.

    That story will always stick with me. If I am ever asked to describe the spirit of that beautiful human being that is my go to.

    Your departure has undoubtedly left holes in the hearts of the ones lucky enough to be close to you.
    We will do our best to carry on the legacy of the greatest man we will ever know.

    I try and model my life and my character after you grandpa. When it gets dark you have and always will be a great source of strength.

    Until our next adventure together
    I will love you as you never left

  2. Cheryl schneck

    09 February 2021 5 months ago

    Miss you dad your smile you taught us a lot we had fun playing games with you taking us on boat rides to get drift wood ice cream you had a positive outlook on life you had lots of love you shared with everyone.you were theri for us when we went thru divorce when we were sick rip dad love you your daughter cheryl schneck

  3. Anonymous

    09 February 2021 5 months ago

    My dad taught us so much we had great times up north all the laugh ter. Boat rides he would play cards with my aunt carol and her daughter it was fun wstching him we said he was number 1 stil is he taught us to be postive .we had fun time with him he liked to pick on my mom he was a good grandpa all the grand children loved him even hi great grand children we love you dad i know you will be watching over us i know your heaven rip dad your daughter Cheryl schneck

  4. Steven Scott

    09 February 2021 6 months ago

    My grandpa thought Me never to hate anyone . And he was the kind of grandpa too joke around with for example one year when I was in high school I asked for Cash for Christmas and my grandpa kept on wanted to switch wallets with me . And I thought he was kidding the funny thing he was serious . But I didn’t so one year for for his birthday I gave him a old wallet and take cash then he gave me fake cash for my Christmas gift . Then when I turned 18 years old he gave me fake a fake check and this year for Christmas I gave Grandpa my old wallet and dollar bill I am sure when grandma showed grandpa the wallet and dollar bill grandpa started to laugh 😂

  5. Gunnar Malek-Madani

    08 February 2021 6 months ago

    Bob was an amazing grandpa to his lucky grandkids. He had a grandparenting style that was silly, thoughtful, caring, and intelligent. When others were around I remember the silliness. He would would beat us in games, flip boats with us on the lake, sing silly songs, and whip us in wrestling matches.

    What I am going to miss most about him though are the times when it was just me and him. I remember following him around all day while mowed the lawn, fixed an outboard motor, went for his long walks, and relaxed with a cup of coffee. As a grandkid who lived out of state I was lucky to spend extended periods with him when we came to visit which afforded us lots of this private time. It was in these moments where I would mostly see the thoughtful, caring, and intelligent side of him. I learned a lot from him, probably more than he ever knew. I’m going to miss him terribly.

  6. Anonymous

    07 February 2021 6 months ago

    Sorry for your loss , he was a great neighbor . Lyle & Carol Cousins

  7. Debbie Cousins

    07 February 2021 6 months ago

    Good neighbors my prayers to all of you

  8. Kristen Pooley

    07 February 2021 6 months ago

    Our grandpa taught us so many things. He taught us how to row a boat, play cards, fish for blue gills, play badminton, sing silly songs – the list goes on and on. However, the most important thing Grandpa taught us wasn’t how to play a game or a skill. Grandpa taught us how to find the good in every situation, and not to take life (or ourselves) too seriously. His example was a lesson to us all, and was embodied in his wide, warm smile.

    As I sing about Johnny Verback and the three little fishies that swam over the damn to my own children, I am reminded of all Grandpa taught me. I am reminded that there is good in every day. I am reminded not to take life too seriously. And I am reminded of my grandpa’s smile.

    We love and miss you.

  9. Shelly Adkins

    07 February 2021 6 months ago

    I am sadden to know we have played our last game. His fun sense of humor always made me enjoy getting beat. I will miss him.

  10. Rochelle (Shelly) Adkins

    07 February 2021 6 months ago

    His big personality made a big impact on my heart. I will miss him and the great fun we had playing games, never a dull moment.

  11. Robert Hillestad

    05 February 2021 6 months ago

    Bob’s legacy is an inspiration.

  12. Denise Emeott Wetherbee

    05 February 2021 6 months ago

    Praying for all of you during this difficult time. It was so nice to know him and we have great memories as neighbors growing up!

  13. Carolyn Burgess

    05 February 2021 6 months ago

    I’m so sorry for your loss ❤️ 🌺🌹💐

  14. Karen Seder

    05 February 2021 6 months ago

    My card playing buddy will be missed but not forgotten. those were the good ole days ❤️
    Rest In Peace Uncle Bob 🌺

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