This wonderful email community serves a lot of functions:  following the team, Kohn-oscenti, Vail; all of it a celebration of the Middlebury lacrosse family.  At times it serves the sad function of informing the ‘team’ of one of our teammates passing.  On Sunday, Burch’s father, John, Sr. passed away.


John certainly qualifies as one of our teammates and soul mates.  For those of use who played on Burch’s teams, there was that ever-present force on the sideline (actually bigger than Burch).  The force I speak of is a man whose presence and demeanor spoke much louder than words.  John Sr., like Burch, did not have a lot to say, but what he said mattered:  words of support, warmth, good humor. 


John, and his wife Sarah, grew to be special friends of Maggie and me.  In a low-keyed way, both provided some welcomed mentoring to a then-young couple starting a family.  Moreover, John was a great friend of everything Middlebury.  Along with John, his two other sons, Dan and Charlie, attended Middlebury and their daughter, Lisa, now works at the College.


Erin and I have put in many years on the sideline and one of our joys is getting to know the parents of the players.  Often these friendships run as deep as those we develop with the players we coached.  John Burchard, Sr. clearly lives in that category.  Having John Sr. on the sideline was like having that mythical 11th player in the true tradition of Panther lacrosse:  character, toughness, a selfless presence.


I know I speak for all of Burch’s teammates in extending our warmth, sympathies and support to the Burchard family.


Jim Grube




Vail Tournament 2002

John Jr (in red shirt) and his Dad, John Sr. during Middlebury Songfest




Vail Tournament - 2000

From left: Priscilla and Bob Quinn (parents of Erin Quinn ’86),

John and Sarah Burchard (parents of John Burchard Jr. ’81 and

Joe and Zita Mercurio (in-laws of Bobo Sideli ’77)




John D. Burchard died of heart failure on January 18, 2004, at his home in Burlington surrounded by his family.  John was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 25, 1936, and grew up in Olmstead Falls, Ohio, where he graduated from high school as a three-sport varsity athlete in 1954, lettering in football, basketball and track.  He obtained his B.A. in psychology from Denison University in 1958 where he was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and the varsity football team.  John met his wife of 46 years, Sara Nuzum, at Denison and they were married in 1957.  After graduation John turned down a tryout with the St. Louis Cardinals football team to pursue his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Nebraska.  John began his professional life as a staff psychologist at a treatment center for delinquent youth in Washington State before accepting an associate professorship at the University of North Carolina in 1965.  It was there John first began to work on what would become a life-long endeavor, developing community-based alternatives to institutional treatment of emotionally and behaviorally challenged youth.  John continued that work after moving his family to Vermont in 1970, when he joined the faculty of the University of Vermont psychology department where he continued to teach until only a few weeks ago.  Over the course of the next thirty-three years he became a nationally-recognized authority and advocate for the adoption and implementation of community-based Wraparound services for at-risk children and youth. 


While in North Carolina John was treasurer of the Quaker Friends Meeting and, prior to desegregation, ran a summer program in interracial living in Winston-Salem under the sponsorship of the American Friends Service Committee.  During the Vietnam War, he also assisted with the establishment of a Friends counseling center at Fort Bragg.  He continued his social activism after becoming a Vermonter, serving his community as a youth hockey and girls softball coach, a member of the Burlington School Board, a ten-year member of the Burlington Police Commission, long-time board member for the King Street Youth Center, co-founder of the Foster Parent Training Program, co-founder of a local group home for behaviorally challenged boys and Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Social and Rehabilitative Services.  John also established numerous programs for youth, including the area's first hockey equipment exchange, a hockey program for low income youth, a teen program at Lyman C. Hunt School and the Burlington Youth Employment Program which he helped start with then-Mayor Bernie Sanders.  In the past year, John was recognized for his work with youth by receiving a lifetime achievement award from the Vermont Collaboration Conference and the third annual Puppets' Choice award from Kids On The Block Vermont, the latter award prompting Mayor Peter Clavelle to declare April 30, 2003, "John and Sara Burchard Day here in Burlington . . . and around the world."


John was an avid outdoorsman, enjoyed fishing, hiking and canoeing, and loved spending time at the log cabin he built in Huntington, VT.  He and Sara traveled around the world, visiting such far away places as Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Europe, India, Mexico and Alaska, and made lasting friendships with people from different backgrounds and cultures wherever they went.  John lived each day to the fullest, always demonstrating a sincere interest in others, a generous spirit, an indomitable optimism and a sense of humor that touched many, many lives. 


John is survived by his wife and best friend Sara, his son John and wife Vicki of Glenview, Illinois, his son Dan and wife Jane of Burlington, his daughter Lisa and husband Stephen Boudah of Middlebury, grandchildren Sara, Elise, Nikki, Tommy and Lia, his stepmother Ruth Burchard, brother Charlie and wife Ginny of Cleveland, Ohio, and many loving and beloved in-laws, nephews, nieces, neighbors and friends.  He and Sara also opened their home to many young people throughout their life together, including most recently his good friend Omer Alicic.  He was predeceased by his parents, Charles and Elizabeth Burchard, and his youngest son, Charlie.


A memorial service to celebrate John's life will be held on Saturday, January 31, 2004, at 1:00 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, South Winooski Avenue, Burlington.  A reception will be held following the service at an as-yet undetermined location.


Memorial donations in John's memory may be made to any of the organizations and causes he supported during his life, including the King Street Youth Center,  P.O. Box 1615, Burlington, Vermont 05402-1615; Kids On The Block Vermont, 294 North Winooski Ave., Burlington, Vermont 05401; and the Charlie Burchard Memorial Trust Fund, P.O. Box 638, Burlington, Vermont 05402-0638, a charitable trust fund established in 1988 by John and his family to remember his son, Charlie, and to support charitable causes, primarily centered in Vermont.


Corbin and Palmer Funeral Home, 71 South Union Street, Burlington, VT, is in care of arrangements.  To send an online condolence to the family, visit www.corbinandpalmerfuneralhome.com.