Obituary: David Shaw Burnett

David Shaw Burnett was born March 4, 1970, in Phoenix’s Good Samaritan Hospital and immediately the world was a brighter place. Throughout his whole life his warmth, caring, charm, quiet compassion, love and selflessness inspired, comforted, and brought healing and light to others, and he did this by being himself, despite having been afflicted with crippling Multiple Sclerosis from the early age of 20.

The son of a military chaplain and a nursing professor, Dave lived in various places during his youth: Buckeye, Arizona; Scottsbluff, Nebraska; Claremont, California; Newport, Rhode Island; Oceanside, Camp Pendleton and San Clemente, California; Naval Communications Station, Guam; Key West, Florida; and finally, Virginia Beach, Virginia, where he was Mr. Kempsville High and Trail Boss of the Virginia United Methodist Church Voices of Youth.

Immediately upon graduating from high school, he spent what he described as his most memorable summer, living with Dr. and Mrs. Klaus Pichler in Zavelstein, Germany. Following that, he attended Cal Poly, Pomona, and then Chapman University from which he received his B.A. While at Chapman, he married Christine Burnett-Darnick (Pitcher). Upon graduating, he attended Claremont School of Theology, where he was awarded the prize for the student overcoming the greatest difficulties (due to his MS). Upon receiving his Master’s of Divinity, he became an associate pastor in Arvada, Colorado, and then the pastor of a two-point charge at Faith United Methodist Church in Sterling, Colorado, and Merino United Methodist on the Colorado Plains. He continued in the pastorate until Aug. 1, 2002, when the United Methodist Church put him on incapacity leave and he and his family settled in Prescott, to be near extended family.

For several years after that, even though he lacked the use of right hand and foot, he continued to drive his kids to and from school and whenever the PTA had a bake sale, would bake three or four of his favorite cakes. In 2013, Dave moved into the Good Samaritan Society, Prescott Village Nursing Home, where he continued to spread joy to the staff and other residents. Dan Hurlbert, the pastor of Prescott United Methodist Church, says that Dave was a pastor to him.

David is survived by his parents, Joanne Munsil Burnett and Ivan Blackwell Burnett Jr.; his brother, Daniel Clark Burnett; and his adult children, Christopher David Burnett and Jordan McKenzie Burnett; and numerous uncles and aunts who all strive to honor his life by emulating his compassionate spirit.

A Celebration of the Life of David Burnett will be held at Prescott United Methodist Church at a later date, when family and friends can safely gather. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in David’s honor and memory to any of the following three charities: The National MS Society, https://secure.nationalmssoci; The Burnett-Munsil Future Fund at Claremont School of Theology, Development Fund, 1325 N. College Ave., Claremont, CA 91711-9967; or the Prescott United Methodist Church, 505 W. Gurley St., Prescott, AZ 86301.

Arrangements entrusted to Hampton Funeral Home.

Information provided by survivors.

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