Robert “Bob” W. Burnette, also known as “Bopie,” died at his home in Camarillo on the evening of May 6, 2011. He was born July 1, 1918 in Oakland, Calif. That gave him more than 92 years to live a truly spectacular life, leaving behind a world of people who will honor him and miss him greatly.
Bob grew up in Burbank, as the son of Estelle Burnette, the principal of Roosevelt School in Magnolia Park, and Pearl Burnette, a math teacher at Burbank High School. At an early age, Bob became interested in boxing, butterflies, and nature in general. These interests would continue throughout his life. Early on, Bob also became very interested in his own physical fitness, so much so that the house he would later build a volleyball court, a hand ball court, a workout room, a large pool, and, of course, a horseshoe pit. Bob eventually attended Burbank High School, Glendale Junior College, and U.C.L.A. At U.C.L.A., he joined Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity and by his senior year he had become its president.
It was during his time at U.C.L.A. that he met the love of his life, Paulette Steinen. Early in 1941, he graduated from U.C.L.A and went to Quantico, Va., for Marine Officer training. Later in that same year, he married Paulette and joined the 2nd battalion of Carlson’s Raiders as a platoon leader in the United States Marine Corps. While serving in the Marines, Bob earned a Bronze Star, a Silver Star, two Purple Hearts and two beautiful, baby daughters: Bobbie Jean and Bettina.
After finishing his military career as a Lt. Col., Bob returned stateside, trying several trades before eventually settling in Moorpark in 1952, building a house, and becoming an egg rancher. Egg ranching lasted throughout the growing years of his daughters and changed to Christmas tree farming in 1961, when he and Paulette opened the Burnette Christmas Tree Farm. About this same time, Bob became an appraiser for the Veteran’s Administration, a career he would have until he retired at the age of 80. Bob was an integral part of the growing city of Moorpark.
He was president of Rotary and the Chamber of Commerce and was Moorpark’s Citizen of the Year in 1983. Bob and Paulette lived and farmed in Moorpark through the births of their five grandchildren, eventually quitting the tree business in 1983 and moving to Leisure Village in Camarillo. Over the next 20 years, Bob continued to live his life as a gift, making others feel loved and honored to be a part of it, leaving this world only when his body gave up, because his spirit never would. We love and will miss him greatly.
Bob is survived by his wife of 69 years, Paulette; his two daughters: Bobbie Burnette and Bettina Gedney (John); five grandchildren: Antony Nagelmann (Helen Faraday-Young), Christopher Nagelmann (Lori Lehouiller), Georgeanne Gedney (Justin Hosmer), Sara Hagen, and Jared Gedney (Lisa Nguyen); six great-grandchildren: Payton, Chantal, and Brendan Nagelmann, Erik Hagen, and Xuan and Quynh Gedney; four nieces: Sylvia Gerard, Kay Hamilton, Judy Muhlethaler and Mayla Stufft; and one nephew: Randy Steinen.
Bob’s last request was that we “have a thrash” (party) in his honor. So his friends are invited to attend a celebration of his life at 12 noon on May 21, at Las Posas Country Club.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that you make a donation to the charity of your choice.