Chester L. Burdett
Chester Lee Burdett, 85, of Pleasanton, formerly of La Pryor, died on Dec. 25, 2017, in San Antonio.
He was born on April 22, 1932, in La Pryor to Osa (Theis) and Frank Burdett.
He worked his family’s land from the time he was old enough to sit a horse until age 17, when he left home to drive a cattle truck cross-country. Four years later, at age 21, Chester entered the U.S. Army and began a career in public service.
Upon his return from active duty, he served as a deputy sheriff in Crystal City and then joined the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (then the Game and Fish Commission) in 1957.
The family says while working as a game warden in Atascosa County, he met his future wife, local beauty Janice Tyler. Seeing the tall young lawman in uniform for the first time, she told her lunch companion, “That’s the man I’m going to marry.” He was as taken with her as she was with him; they made their first date the next day and were married just a few months later in early 1960.
The couple spent the next three decades living in Pleasanton, Portland, and Mountain City as he moved up through the ranks of the department.
Burdett was named Director of Law Enforcement in 1979 and the family says the vision and innovation he brought to that position are reflected in today’s game wardens. When he retired in 1992, he held the rank of Colonel and was recognized across the state for integrity, dedication, professionalism, and devotion to duty. He was commended by the Governor of Texas, the Texas Senate, the Texas House of Representatives, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Governor of Kentucky (who commissioned him a Kentucky Colonel).
When his wife became ill in 1996, he was her sole and stubborn caregiver until her death in 2005. During that time, the couple returned home to Pleasanton where he farmed, raised cattle, and served his family and church. Burdett will be remembered in many ways: a turn of phrase, a great story, the things he built, and the lessons he taught.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 45 years; his parents; two brothers, Jack Burdett and Allen Burdett; and one sister, Frances Burdett Schaefer.
Burdett is survived by two daughters, Kathleen Lange and husband, Jon, of Jourdanton and Karen Ray and husband, Thomas, of Kyle; two grandchildren; two brothers, Albert Burdett of San Angelo and Johnny Burdett of Campbellton; one cousin, Elaine Flores and husband, Mike, of San Antonio; as well as extended family and many friends.
A visitation was held on Friday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Hurley Funeral Home in Pleasanton.
A funeral service was held yesterday 10 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Pleasanton, followed by interment at the Pleasanton City Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to Gear Up For Game Wardens at www.gearupforgamewardens.org, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation initiative that provides specialty equipment to game wardens to ensure their safety and to support them in providing the highest level of service to the people of Texas.
Hurley Funeral Home of Pleasanton