James Michael Burnette, 71, died Sept. 26, 2020, after suffering a major stroke.
He was born Feb. 26, 1949, in Sheffield, Alabama.
He joined the U.S. Coast Guard after graduating in 1968 from Messick High School in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was on the ROTC rifle team. He took his basic training in California and was shipped to duty in Ketchikan. He served on several ships in the Coast Guard, and then was a part of the Coast Guard Reserves until 1974. He was a rescue swimmer and engine man. He also traveled for the Coast Guard in shooting competitions.
After his military service, he attended auto mechanics school in Florida, earning two certified degrees for auto mechanics, and returned to Ketchikan to open "Mike's Auto Lab." Later, he worked as a second engineer with the Alaska Marine Highway System, serving on AMHS ferries until retiring in 2015.
In 2005, he moved to Livingston, Texas, and married Mary Nell Greer (Burnette). They owned the local Century 21 real estate office. Mr. Burnette also was a gunsmith and gun broker with a FFL license issued by ATF, and he operated the Paladin's Hideout gun shop.
He had many hobbies, including motorcycles and riding with the local American Legion 402 and the Christian Motorcycle Association Chapter King's Kids.
Mr. Burnette attended First Baptist Church in Livingston and First Baptist Church in Goodrich, Texas.
“He was well liked by all who knew him,” his wife writes.
Mr. Burnette was preceded in death by his parents, James and Natalie Burnette; and his grandparents.
He is survived by wife, Mary Nell Burnette; grandson, Davis Vaughn; stepson, Mark Vaughn and wife Tracy; step-granddaughter, Shea Lewis; daughter, Michelle Burnette-Lozier and husband Keith, and their children, Collin, Isaac, Bethany and Emily, all of Washington state; daughter, Natalie Burnette White and husband, Joe, and their children, Corey, Janie, Claire, Boden and Cooper, all of Ketchikan; daughter, Karen Burnette Howe and husband Eric, and their children, Mallory and Carter, all of Rochester, New York; and son, Thomas Kyle Burnette and wife Hope, and their children, Oxford and Emilee, all of Ketchikan; and numerous other relatives.
Services were held Oct. 3, 2020, at First Baptist Church in Goodrich, Texas, officiated by the Rev. Tom Owen.
Mr. Burnette’s remains were interred at the VA cemetery in Houston, Texas.
Donations may be sent to the Fisher House Foundation or Camp Hope.