Darrel “DB” Russell Burkhardt
Darrel Russell Burkhardt, aged 82, affectionately known as “DB” went to be with the Lord and his longtime hunting camp; fishing buddies on January 10, 2020 when his incredibly big heart finally gave out.
DB was born December 30, 1937 in the Township of Harmony, Wisconsin to parents Russell and Mildred Henry Burkhardt. He grew up a farm kid in the ‘BAD AXE’ and would reminisce about “walking 10 miles to school – uphill both ways – in the snow” as a child.
He enjoyed the outdoors and had many memories of trapping, fishing and hunting during his formative years.
He moved to La Crosse as a teenager and graduated in 1956 from Central High School. After high school he served his country as a member of the National Guard into the early 1960’s. In the late 1950’s he began work at Trane Company where he caught the eye of a beautiful co-worker Judith Johnson of La Crosse. They were married in June of 1960.
The marriage produced four sons which were their greatest accomplishment. The marriage to Judy has been for 59 ½ years and will continue into eternity.
In the 1970’s DB began his own business focused on the sales of manufactured housing. He operated Burkhardt’s Mobile Homes for many years and then became Sales Manager at Onalaska Mobile Homes. He also worked as a Flooring Contractor with his longtime friend Jerry Hansen and continued spending time on his manufactured home “turnaround projects” with
his sons to his very last day.
His favorite hobbies focused on the outdoors which included fishing, hunting and a bit of golfing. He was an avid deer Hunter and spent many a deer camp with his sons and other family members over the past 65 years. Many deer hunting experiences led to great stories usually about the “Big Buck” that got away in Millston and another missed “Big Buck” in Taylor years later. There were many stories of great and successful hunts including the year the “meat pole” broke in half because the group had taken too many deer. In this past hunting season we managed to get two deer on opening day before 8:30 am which brought him joy and made him proud.
He also loved the Green Bay Packers but would occasionally jump on the bandwagon of other teams for no apparent reason. He like to talk about the “Colts” and the “Panthers” when they were on the upswing. However he was an ardent Packer fan and passed that tradition down to his sons and grandchildren.
We think he had a hand in that last game against the Seahawks. DB loved to tell stories and could fix anything with duct tape, caulk and some shims. As a child from the depression era he never threw anything away and he could spend hours in his garage with the odds and ends he collected.
DB was a devoted Husband, Father, Grandfather and Great Grandfather.
He is survived by his wife Judith and four sons; Randall (Wendy), Daniel (Jackie), Michael and Steven (Jessica); by sisters Valerie and Eleanor and many nieces and nephews. He leaves 10 wonderful grandchildren* that were the apple of his eye; Regina (Colin Peterson), Scott (Amy) , Ryan (Serena), Aaron, Randall II, Mason, Tiana, Weston, Gavyn and Marlee and two great grandchildren Emma and William.
He always provided a calming effect with every holiday gathering by relaxing with his family, enjoying every story, and he provided nothing but love and looked forward to seeing us whenever possible” – Grandson Ryan.
DB was preceded in death by his Father Russell Burkhardt, Mother Mildred Henry Burkhardt and Stepmother Millie; Sister Anne, Brother Ronnie, and Sister Lori.
Services are scheduled for Friday January 17th at 4pm at The Gathering Place located on 133 Mason Street in Onalaska. Visitation is from 4pm to 5pm with a formal service by Reverend Scott Skogen at 5pm and reception to follow. In lieu of flowers please contribute to the Down Syndrome Foundation in the name of his great grandson William Peterson at www.downsyndromefoundation.org/donate.