John Franklin Burford

May 29, 1941April 15, 2020

After fighting the good fight with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, John Franklin Burford passed away peacefully in his Windsor home surrounded by his family on April 15th, 2020 at the age of 78.

John was born on May 29th, 1941 in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Jacque Dietrich and Mary Doris O’Brien and later adopted by Robert Burford. Though he’d quip he was a jack of all trades while a master of none, John succeeded in a multitude of roles and was well respected. He served active duty in the U.S. Army from 1960-1963. As a Continuous Wave Radar Specialist, John was deployed to the 38th Air Defense Artillery Brigade in Korea supporting the HAWK Air Defense Missile System. After returning from Korea, John continued as a civil servant at the Redstone Arsenal Ordnance Guided Missile School (USAOGMS) through 1966 and then supported the Saturn V and Apollo Space Program. John moved back to Minnesota as a Field Engineer and Contract Administrator for Sperry Univac in 1969.

While in Eagan, he met the love of his life, Barbara Burginger, marrying her in 1971. Over the next few years, the couple welcomed two children into their home and John set about teaching them to be responsible members of society. His children remember him as a loving, albeit tough at times, father who unfalteringly encouraged and supported them in pursuing their goals.

Ready to provide for his family as his own boss, John received a certificate in business management from the University of Minnesota in 1975. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Metropolitan State University in 1978 he founded Burford Construction. Adhering to his mantra “if it’s a job worth doing, it’s a job worth doing well”, he built many quality homes and was awarded an Emmy for design and construction excellence. He was also part of the University of Minnesota’s program for energy efficient homes.

After a recession hit the Minnesota building business, he moved his family to Fort Collins, Colorado in 1982 for various entrepreneurial pursuits before joining the USDA as a systems analyst in 1987. After a time, he could no longer ignore his passion and returned to construction founding Burford Homes in 1997. As a renowned builder he continued to build houses in the Windsor/Severance area before finally retiring in 2009.

John was a driven individual who loved to cook and was passionate about his family, friends and sometimes politics. He was a member of the Christ United Methodist Church and often volunteered in Fort Collins. As an accomplished wood worker, his creations are still enjoyed by the church daycare, as well as family and friends.

John and Barb enjoyed travelling and cruising with friends and relatives, as well as camping/ "glamping" in their different trailers over the years. They had many memorable trips with their own special stories and adventures to tell.

John, affectionately known as the family patriarch, is survived by his wife, Barbara Burginger Burford; children, Jason Burford & Adrienne (Monty) Butler; grandchild Sienna Burford; siblings, Robert (Anne) Burford and Katherine (Dick Schwab) Burford of Webster WI, Thomas (Vickie) Burford of Bagley MN, Susan (Paul) Rockwell of Santa Cruz CA, Patricia (Michael Martindale) Burford of Auckland New Zealand, Teresa (Chuck Hadro) Burford of Forest Lake MN, Carole Steinbrenner (Dietrich) of Newport, RI; and a long list of Aunts/Uncles/Cousins (he was from an Irish Catholic family ya know). He is preceded in death by his parents Mary Doris (O’Brien) and Robert Burford of Webster WI and his biological father Jacque Dietrich of Boise Idaho.

A Memorial is scheduled for 2 PM May 29th at Christ United Methodist Church in Fort Collins. Minister Reverend Aaron Gray will officiate the ceremony. All are welcome to attend and celebrate John’s life. Condolences can be sent to 805 Compassion Drive Apt #220, Windsor, CO 80550. The family would like to thank everyone for their continued support during this difficult time.

In lieu of flowers, please make a gift to support the Interstitial Lung Disease Research Fund at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Please send your gift in memory of John Burford to: University of Colorado Foundation, PO Box 17126, Denver CO 80217. On the memo line of the check, please note John’s name and make it payable to the CU Foundation. Gifts may also be made online at

Quick to laugh and even quicker to lend a hand, we will always carry his memory in our hearts.


  • Memorial Service

    Friday, May 29, 2020

  • Reception

    Friday, May 29, 2020


John Franklin Burford

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Eunice Christensen

May 17, 2020

Dearest Barb and Family,
What an amazing man was John Franklin Burford! He certainly enriched our world with his talents and many accomplishments. You had many reasons to love, and be proud of this man.
Cherish all your good memories. God bless you as you mourn his loss. Love , Eunice (Keller) Christensen

Eunice Christensen

May 1, 2020

While I never met John, he was married to a lovely woman named Barbara Burginger. I met Barb's family in 1961-62 when teaching in Faribault, MN. I roomed at Barb's grandmother's home, but the Burgingers all treated me like part of their family. They were ALL special to me! I am impressed and amazed when reading John's obituary. He certainly made the world a better place in which to live. Wow! So many accomplishments! Please know I will be in prayer for all of his family. I love you, Barb, and always will.
Eunie Christensen, a former Minnesotan, now living in Iowa