Stuart Burgess | 1940–2020

Posted July 9, 2021 at 7:57 am by

Stuart Burgess.

This trib­ute to Stu­art is pre­sent­ed with love on the sixth-month anniver­sary of his pass­ing by the Burgess family.

You nev­er quite knew what to expect from Stu­art. In a world that often tries to mold us into con­for­mi­ty, Stu­art was as unique as the stars in the sky.

Stu­art Phillip Jacob­son was born Nov. 8, 1940, at Queen of Angels Hos­pi­tal in Los Ange­les, Cal­i­for­nia. He died Dec. 17, 2020, at home on San Juan Island, Wash­ing­ton. In the 80 years between those dates, he trav­eled his life’s path search­ing for adven­ture, pur­pose, under­stand­ing and love.

His moth­er, Bar­bara Lam­bert, was from Dundee, Scot­land; his father, Thomas Wiik-Jacob­son was a first-gen­er­a­tion Nor­we­gian. They lived in Man­hat­tan Beach, Cal­i­for­nia, the begin­ning of Stuart’s “beach boy” years. His broth­er John was born two years later.

World War II brought many chal­lenges and the mar­riage suf­fered hard­ships. Bar­bara remar­ried, chang­ing the boys’ last name to Burgess.
Con­tact with the Nor­we­gian rel­a­tives was sev­ered although Stu­art always yearned to be with them. Years lat­er, Stu­art and John joy­ful­ly recon­nect­ed with the Norwegians–a momen­tous event which changed their lives and those of their loved ones forever.

Through­out his child­hood, Stu­art learned of his Scot­tish her­itage from his col­or­ful “Granny,” Aunt Hil­da Wal­lace, Uncle George, and their family.

There were many post-World War II moves before the fam­i­ly set­tled in Bald­win Park, Cal­i­for­nia, when he was ten years old. It was there that he made many won­der­ful friends who sus­tained him through­out his life.

After his high school grad­u­a­tion, Stu­art attend­ed Mt. San Anto­nio Col­lege in Wal­nut, Cal­i­for­nia. In the fall of 1960, his adven­tur­ous spir­it led him to Scot­land and oth­er Euro­pean coun­tries. He hitch­hiked through­out Great Britain and Europe for 15 months, nev­er tak­ing a train or bus.

On his return home, he lived with friends in Lagu­na Beach, Cal­i­for­nia, work­ing as part of the orig­i­nal team at Wardy Surf­boards. When he was not sand­ing boards at work, he was surf­ing his favorite beach­es and play­ing soc­cer with the Coast Rangers Soc­cer Club in New­port Beach, California.

He mar­ried, became a father at 22 to his son, Cullen Grey Burgess and two years lat­er, Tay Gra­ham Burgess joined the fam­i­ly. Stu­art adored his sons and they became a won­der­ful part of his life. He was a proud dad.

Dur­ing this time, Stu­art worked a myr­i­ad of jobs to sup­port the fam­i­ly. He often said he worked more jobs than you could “shake a stick at.” At this point in his life, he real­ized that work­ing in an office was not
for him. He pre­ferred the great outdoors.

After his mar­riage end­ed, Stu­art moved to Bal­boa Island, Cal­i­for­nia. It was there he met his future wife, Jen­ny DiSalvo.

He began his career in golf man­age­ment at the Big Canyon Golf Club in New­port Beach, Cal­i­for­nia, and, lat­er, at Elkhorn Golf Club in Sun Val­ley, Idaho.

Stu­art and Jen­ny mar­ried in June 1973 and moved to Ketchum/Sun Val­ley, Ida­ho, where they resided for 17 years. Stu­art worked as a ski lift oper­a­tor (win­ter sea­son) and in golf man­age­ment (sum­mer sea­son). He played soc­cer for the Sun Val­ley Soc­cer Club and fre­quent­ly coached Jenny’s stu­dents from the dis­tin­guished Ernest Hem­ing­way Ele­men­tary School.

They built a small, com­fort­able house near the Saw­tooth Nation­al For­est. The house was filled as often as pos­si­ble with loved ones and adored friends. It was a home Cullen and Tay tru­ly enjoyed, hon­ing their ath­let­ic skills in a mul­ti­tude of sports. Life in Ketchum was excit­ing and chal­leng­ing. Some years held bet­ter mem­o­ries than others.

In 1982, Stu­art and John reunit­ed with their Nor­we­gian family–a “love fest” that has nev­er end­ed. Reunions among fam­i­lies and trav­el between Nor­way, Wis­con­sin and Wash­ing­ton kept the bond strong, no mat­ter the dis­tance or gen­er­a­tions. The fam­i­ly expand­ed joy­ful­ly with the birth of grand­chil­dren: Mor­gan, Noah, Jake, Isla in Hawaii; Kas­sidy in Cal­i­for­nia, and in lat­er years, great-grand­chil­dren: Calie, Leila (twins) and Wyatt.

In 1990, Stu­art and Jen­ny moved to San Juan Island, Wash­ing­ton. It was a per­fect move for them. Close by, were Stuart’s beloved Uncle Casper Weeks, the father fig­ure he always want­ed; his moth­er Bar­bara, broth­er John, wife Mary, his nieces Anneke and Maryke.

Stu­art worked for Aero­nau­ti­cal Ser­vices while Jen­ny taught at the Fri­day Har­bor Ele­men­tary School. They loved their jobs, the peo­ple in the com­mu­ni­ty and the beau­ty of the islands. Stu­art was an avid fan of cross­word puz­zles and sports, lis­ten­ing to Mozart and study­ing geog­ra­phy. He spent hours read­ing dai­ly news­pa­pers, peri­od­i­cals, and
books. Writ­ing poems, let­ters and opin­ions were impor­tant to him. Stu­art nev­er missed an oppor­tu­ni­ty to dis­cuss phi­los­o­phy and ethics. He was known for wear­ing Rain­bow San­dals, Clarke Desert Boots and Ray-Ban Sun­glass­es. He liked spend­ing time at home, hav­ing a fire going, wear­ing sum­mer shorts, being with his dog Alber­ta and enjoy­ing his wife’s cooking.

Trav­el was impor­tant to Stu­art and Jen­ny, and retire­ment allowed them to vis­it addi­tions to the fam­i­ly and tra­verse the globe as often as pos­si­ble, con­nect­ing with fam­i­ly and friends in Argenti­na, Scot­land, Nor­way, Cana­da, Italy, and Hawaii. They also revis­it­ed coun­tries trav­eled in their ear­ly 20’s. With the pas­sage of time, health issues became more preva­lent, seri­ous, and trav­el time became limited.

In 2020, Stuart’s ill­ness became acute, requir­ing home health care. He was lov­ing­ly and com­pe­tent­ly cared for by Peace Health, Dr. William Gun­der­son, Island Air, and an array of oth­er ded­i­cat­ed indi­vid­u­als, includ­ing Hos­pice of the North­west, Hos­pice of San Juan, and pri­vate nurs­ing staff dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic. Friends, neigh­bors, and local mer­chants went “above and beyond” to help and lend fur­ther sup­port for which the fam­i­ly is eter­nal­ly grateful.

Stu­art passed away of lung dis­ease on Dec. 17, 2020, in his wife’s arms. He is mourned, remem­bered, and loved by his devot­ed fam­i­ly and friends.

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Categories: Obituaries


  1. A life well spent.…

    Comment by Terrence Wilkinson on July 10, 2021 at 2:42 pm
  2. What a lov­ing trib­ute to Stuart.

    Comment by Janet Wright on July 11, 2021 at 8:42 am
  3. Love­ly trib­ute but any­one who knew Stu­art in the 90s knew of his alcoholism,the domes­tic abuse that land­ed him in jail,nazi sup­port­ing rants,etc.It seems Jen­ny for­gave him and helped him over­come those demons.

    Comment by Asa George on December 7, 2021 at 4:35 am

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