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Clark E. Burnett

August 31, 1934 - March 26, 2024
Novi, MI



Monday, April 1, 2024
3:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Turowski Life Story Funeral Homes
Livonia, West of Middlebelt
30200 Five Mile Rd.
Livonia, MI 48154
(734) 525-9020
Driving Directions


Tuesday, April 2, 2024
9:30 AM EDT
St. Aidan Catholic Church
17500 Farmington Road
Livonia, MI 48152

*Instate 9:00AM

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Life Story / Obituary


Clark Edward Burnett passed away on March 26th at the age of 89. He was born in Dryden, MI on August 31st, 1934 to Clark F. Burnett and Ethel (Hegedus) Burnett. He was preceded in death by his mother and father, as well as his sister Mary Lou Graham. Clark is survived by his wife of 61 years, Karla, as well as his sister Alice Ann Peck and his brother Bob Burnett. He is also survived by his children, grandchildren, and great grandson Vinny. Proud father of Lisa Marlow (Mike), Kirsten Legac (Kurt), Becky Williamson (Rob), Clark N. Burnett (Erin) and Jessica Burnett McClure. Doting grandfather of Lindsey, Joe (Danielle), John (Jenny), Tom, Niki, C.J., Clark M., Caleb, Isabell, Jack, Zoe, Clark T. and Sebastian. Delighted great-grandfather of Vinny.

Clark was an avid outdoorsman who loved to fish, camp, and explore the wilderness. He loved to read and argue politics, he loved to garden, and he loved to travel. He and Karla have been to every state except Alaska, along with trips to Canada, Spain and France and a Viking River Cruise with their daughters down the Danube River in Central and Southeastern Europe.

Clark loved sports as a die-hard Michigan State fan. He loved to laugh, and he loved to make people laugh. Clark was a consummate storyteller, and he didn't mind a nice cold beer, either. Most of all he loved his family and adored his wife, Karla. Clark lived life the way that you're supposed to. He grew up in Dryden, MI, and he did not waste time before he started living his extraordinary life. At the age of four, with the newly minted nickname of "Punch", he started in on the first of many memorable adventures which culminated in burning down the family barn. He survived this mishap, but it was just the beginning of many wild and crazy rides. Although it was early, Clark was just getting started. The stories now come fast and thick, and we’re all thankful that Clark and Karla wrote a book in 2022, telling these stories and many many more. Some of the high (and low!)lights:

At the tender age of seven, he and a friend had their clothes and BB gun stolen by mischievous classmates. They got their clothes back, but not before his friend got a BB in the ear! Horse racing mishaps with a second-place debut, followed by the horse “Burg” landing on top of him in the subsequent race. This would be the first of a series of knockouts. Two wild rides on the thoroughbred “Punch” (guess who named that horse?), both ending with Clark on the ground and the second time unconscious to boot! A game-winning half-court basketball shot, followed by yet another head-cracking experience. This one courtesy of the teammates carrying him on their shoulders and slipping on the wet shower floor. At least this time he couldn’t blame a horse! A toboggan ride that ended with yet another knockout blow, this one from a stump he ran into. He attended Albion College to play football before finishing at Western Michigan University with Degrees in History, Political Science and American Literature. Two years in the Army, spending time in Missouri, Colorado, Germany, Denmark, Spain, France and Switzerland. He took an early release from the Army for a job in his old high school in Dryden, teaching History and Civics and coaching the football AND basketball teams. A summer trip with his dad to Colorado and Wyoming where they chased a bear away from their tent by whacking it on the nose with a shoe. One more year teaching and coaching at Dryden High School and then he moved to the big leagues, getting a job at Monroe High School where he taught and coached track and football. An epic trip to Mexico in his famous “honey” of a 1959 MG. After breaking down shortly across the border, he wound up in Xalapa, Veracruz, where he attended the University of Veracruz. During his second year at Monroe High School, Clark met the woman that would change his life. Karla the nurse from Ohio would soon make an honest man of our well-traveled adventurer. A second trip to Mexico, this time with a movie camera, with his brother Bob and a teacher friend. The teacher friend left them, so Clark and Bob hitchhiked back to Michigan at the end of the summer! On June 16, 1962, Clark and Karla are married in Karla’s hometown of Delphos, OH. After a honeymoon at the beach on Lake Huron, it was time to set up shop in Monroe. Clark went back to school and Karla got a job nursing in Toledo. They started in a house trailer in NE Monroe, but after their first daughter Lisa was born in 1963, they sold the MG and trailer and moved into a farmhouse. Karla wasn’t fond of isolation and when she became pregnant with Kirsten, they found a small house in town. Kirsten was born in 1964 and by 1965, Clark had a new job teaching and coaching in Dearborn, at Fordson High School. In addition to the traditional classroom subjects he taught, Clark was also heavily involved in the ESL program at Fordson, supporting the many incoming children who didn’t speak English. His classes went beyond lessons in the classroom, extending to picnics, BBQ’s and kayak rides. Clark developed strong relationships with the hundreds of kids and their families that he maintained long after his retirement. Becky (1965), Clark (1969) and Jessica (1971) were all born in Dearborn, and the Inkster house was now bursting at the seams. The Burnett family, now seven strong, moved to new digs in Livonia. Once retired, Clark and Karla kept busy. They volunteered for Meals on Wheels and had regular outings, dinners, and rounds of cards with the “Dippers” and the “Spaghetti Group”, great friends they had celebrated with over many years. Clark and Karla would stay in that house for over 50 years, making lots of memories, remodeling changes and improvements before selling the famous family compound and moving to the Fox Run retirement community in Novi.

Memorial contributions may be directed to your favorite charity. Clark and Karla have supported many outdoor and humanitarian groups through the years.