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In memory of my father, Donald Burgess

Donald and Cherie Burgess. I wanted to let Outposts readers know that I have not abandoned this blog. I appreciate every follower I get, and enjoy the interaction, conversations and comments that come from readers.

I plan to continue to work diligently at keeping it fresh and active in the coming days and weeks, but have suffered a tremendous loss -- my father, Donald Burgess, passed away Saturday morning at age 83.

My father was a kind, gentle and unassuming person. And though he had people such as Louis Armstrong and Wolfman Jack as his friends, he was always unpretentious.

My Dad was a New Yorker his entire life, even though we moved to California when I was quite young. He worked at Harper's Bazaar and Vogue magazines -- and even had Andy Warhol as a contributor (Dad would mention how he wished he had saved some of the drawings Warhol did for him). During the '70s, my father started Campaigns magazine, an internationally distributed publication on military miniature model soldiers, uniforms and history.

It was from my mother, Cherie, that I believe I picked up my love of fishing and the outdoors. My father helped instill in me the interest in the proper use of language and grammar. He enjoyed pointing out grammatically incorrect phrases, such as, it is not "I could care less, but I couldn't care less" and that there really isn't such a term as first annual -- at that point it's still a hope to be a yearly event, and doesn't really warrant the "annual" moniker until the second time -- and should always be referred to as inaugural.

It was also my Dad who made me aware of possible jobs at the Los Angeles Times, where he worked as an award-winning design director. I have him to thank for helping me get in the door as a copy messenger 27 years ago. After leaving The Times, my father remained busy, involved with designing programs and souvenirs, and helping with other creative aspects of the Fabulous Palm Springs Follies.

When I said my goodbye, it wasn't really that, but more of a see you later. I told him that I know I'll see him again, hope he visits me from time to time and says hi to Mom for me, for they are together again. I love them both very much.

-- Kelly Burgess / kcburgess2@gmail.com

Photo: Donald and Cherie Burgess. Credit: Allison Ramsey / Allison Ramsey Photography

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Comments (12)

Dearest Kelly,

I am deeply saddened to hear of your loss.

Kelly, how wonderful that you share your Dad's love of language and that you were able to honor his memory with such a beautiful written piece. It is such a lovely tribute!

He sounds like he was a true gentleman. May he rest in peace and smile down upon you. With sincere condolences,


That's a beautiful post, Kelly. Thank you for sharing that with us.

Sorry for your loss, Kelly. Don't know you, but I do love reading your Outposts on the daily and wish you the all the best during these trying times. Very touching dedication to your beloved father and keep in mind everytime you write, your dad lives on. I think the best way to keep his spirit alive is to keep up the good work and trying to keep the grammatically incorrect phrases to a minimum, as he would have wished ;)

I am sad at the loss of your father, but happy he is with mom and that I knew him. He was a talented man. He was someone I really looked up to as an inspiration of humor, ideas, and stories. He was my adopted father. His views on improper grammar were hilarious; he was like George Carlin and Steven Wright without the profanity (and if I wrongly type any of this posting, please forgive).
I learned critical thinking and passion for detail from his artwork and modeling, enjoyment of music (he had a collection of Blues albums spanning decades). My memories of him at his desk painting a figurine, setting typefaces for magazines, or even cooking in the kitchen are very vivid. He was not boastful, but, a quiet and thoughtful guy that I admired.
In 2003, Lake Superior State University published its "28th annual 'extreme' List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness, which the world needs 'now, more than ever.'"
Don's submission, ironically reads:
"UNTIMELY DEATH -- Balky attempt to make some deaths more tragic than others. ‘Has anyone yet died a timely death?’ asks Donald Burgess of South Pasadena, California."
To everyone: put a smile on your face for knowing him and stay away from the catch phrases.
John Paulson


I'm so sorry for your loss. Your father had a extraordinary life and I'm sure he's proud of his daughter. And I'm sure he would agree this tribute is worthy of his high standards. You should be proud carrying on the journalistic legacy your father established.

Take care and be strong.

I was introduced to Don by Kelly on the way to lunch one day at he LA Times, when Don's office was downstairs around the corner from the Globe Lobby, and knew instantly where she got her wry sense of humor. Clearly Don was one of a kind, and he'll be greatly missed. He was a classic, and with associations with such artists from different pages of the book like Armstrong and Warhol, it shows he was a Renaissance Man at a powerful time. - Thomas Bonk


I am so sorry to read this.

"My father was a kind, gentle and unassuming person." --Shared characteristics, unquestionably.

Dear Kelly,

It is with great sadness that I read your blog and e-mail about your dad.

Many of us are now reaching that cycle of life where we lose our parents. It is a loss that seems irreplaceable; the mom and dad who guided you through formative years and (hopefully) built a foundation of manners and principles that you still refer to and lean on.

But the heart is more than a muscle. Like the brain , it is a storehouse for memories and feelings. The things you loved most about your dad -- his touch, his compassion, his ideals, his love of and for you -- are there. Go to them now in this time of reflection and sorrow. And if you need to go back to them at another point in time, they will still be there.

Those of us who care for and about you will want to reach out and wrap you up in a protective cocoon of love to try and spare you from the pain of this loss, even though you must go through it alone. Embrace that. Also embrace the notion your mother has reconnected with her soul mate in whatever next world awaits us.

However we can help you, we will. Whatever we can do for you, we will try.

From our hearts to yours.

Mike Terry

Dear Scott and Kelly,
My deepest sympathies at your terrible loss. Although I only met your parents the one time at your wedding, I liked them both instantly. We spent our entire time together talking about art, music, show business and, of course, the Follies.
Like Mr. Burgess, I too am always correcting people's spelling and grammar. Perhaps it's my Virgo perfectionism or the fact that I minored in English. My teenage friends have gotten used to it. At least I hope they have.
Please extend my condolences to the rest of your family. My thoughts are with you now and my love is with you always.

Your deep love and affection for your father is shown in this post. I read all that you write but, by far, this is the best.
You were fortunate to have him as a father; he was blessed to have you as a daughter.
He's now at peace, again with your mother....and they are both infinitely proud of you.
My sincerest condolences.

What a wonderful post. It's one of the best I've ever read...on any topic. My deepest sympathies go out to you. Our thoughts are with you.

Kelly so sorry for your loss. What a touching tribute to your father. I've known you all these years but never knew much about your dad. Now I do.

Thanks for all you do for us in the sports department. We can't operate without you! Thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

take care

Chris Dufresne


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Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.