Dr. Hugh F. Burnett II

August 3, 1942May 14, 2018
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A box of Parodi cigars, a fifth of single malt scotch, and a flight of unsuspecting ducks welcomed Dr. Hugh F. Burnett II to heaven on May 14, 2018. He took his final breath at Baptist Medical Center in Little Rock, his “home away from home” for the last 42 years. He loved the hospital and all those who worked in it.

Hugh was born August 3, 1942 in Shawnee, Oklahoma to Hugh Franklin Burnett and Selma Hull Burnett. Hugh’s father was a World War II bomber pilot who was shot down over Belgium after ordering his crew to parachute. Sadly he did not survive, but Hugh’s father remains a hero in our family. Selma remarried to Herbert L. Wineland, M.D. in 1945, and from that union Hugh was blessed with six siblings who always looked up to their big brother.

Hugh grew up in Gunnison, Colorado and Nashville, Tennessee while his second father finished his education. The family moved to Pine Bluff in 1955, where Hugh graduated from high school. He attended both Christian Brothers and Tulane University, graduating in 1963. In graduate school he worked towards a master’s degree in zoology. The University of Arkansas School of Medicine occupied his next four years.

In 1969 he married Sally Roberta Trammell from DeQueen. Their first son, Hugh Franklin Burnett III, was born later that year, followed by Thomas Wilson Burnett in 1973. Medical school led to residencies in general and cardiothoracic surgery also at UAMS. Although Hugh specialized in lung and esophageal surgery, he retained his cardiothoracic board standing throughout his career. His professional affiliations are too numerous to list.

Hugh joined The Surgical Clinic in 1976 with Grimsley Graham, M.D. A short time later, Everett Tucker, M.D. joined the two to create an incredible triad of surgeons. The Surgical Clinic grew immensely over the years with too many fine surgeons to name. The clinic paralleled the rise of the Higginbotham Surgery Center on the Baptist campus.

Hugh was a teacher despite his non-academic career path. He educated hundreds of nurses, physicians, and hospital staffs throughout his 40-year surgical span. Calm as any under pressure and with an unbreakable shell, Hugh was a teddy bear on the inside. His emotions were deep but he could always keep them in check. Almost always.

What little free time Hugh had was devoted to his wife, his two sons, and his five granddaughters. He rarely traveled unless there was a medical meeting, gun show, shooting competition, or hunt at the other end of the journey. He never joined a country club or played golf. His time was spent with his family. Every Sunday night at Hugh and Sally’s home was “girls night”. They adore their Paw and Sassy.

Ducks, fishing, and guns were a large part of Hugh’s life away from the hospital, always with the boys. Hugh, Charles Sullivan, M.D., Whit Hall, M.D., and Jerry Carman acquired the Miracle Mallard Duck Club in 1983, and legendary family weekends were born. Duck club pictures always came with wide smiles, yet Hugh rarely shot!

Hugh’s third family consisted of his Benton Gun Club brothers—Dr. Sullivan, Neil Compton, Harold Smith, Greg Sullivan, Mason Sickle, Larry Reynolds, Bill Duncan, Alston Jennings, Leroy Squires, and Rich Richards. Yearly matches in Louisiana, Texas, and of course, Saline County were a staple for the last 25 years. These guys were always up for guns and grilling.

Nobody knew Hugh better than his loving and beautiful wife Sally. She did it all at home, and still does. She endured the call nights when Hugh was gone all night, the many nights when he arrived home at insanely late hours, and the phone ringing all night when he was on call. Just under 50 years of cooking, cleaning, kids, grandkids, and unconditional support and love! Hugh was blessed to have found the perfect wife and mother.

Hugh was predeceased by his father Hugh, his mother, his second father, and his beloved great aunt, Nell Sakach (Nene). He is survived by his wife Sally, his sons Hugh Franklin III (Lin) and Thomas Wilson; their wives Suzanne and Jennifer, and five granddaughters, Haley, Hope, Rebecca, Brette, and Sydney. He is also survived by his sisters and brothers, Lee Wineland, M.D. (Pam), Pam Willis (Maurice), Daria Wineland (John Porton), Teresa Wineland, Vicki Perry (Jim), and Greg Wineland (Angela), 14 nieces and nephews, 9 great nieces and nephews, and his brother-in-law Bob Trammell.

A special thank you to Stephen Hutchins, M.D., Derlis Martino, M.D. and John Ransom, M.D. for their sacrifice of time and expertise. We can't thank you enough for your heroic efforts. Thanks also to Drs. Nancy Rector, Keerthy Narisetty, Eyad Abochale, and Shane Kimball. The nursing staff in the CVICU was exemplary. Thank you, Rebecca, and all those who cared for him.

Visitation will be at Griffin Leggett Healey & Roth, 5800 West 12th, on Friday, May 18 from 5-7 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Christ the King Catholic Church on Saturday, May 19 at 10:00 a.m.

Donations can be made to Ducks Unlimited or the Humane Society of Pulaski County.


  • Visitation Friday, May 18, 2018
  • Mass of Christian Burial Saturday, May 19, 2018

Dr. Hugh F. Burnett II

have a memory or condolence to add?

Leslie Plant

January 11, 2019

I read Lisa Hum's beautiful and humorous word's about Dr. Burnett and can't top them except to say- She captured Hugh Burnett in a nutshell.
I loved that man!

Terry Barket

October 26, 2018

Oh, Sally and family, I continue to hold you close in my thoughts, prayers and heart. Dr. Hugh was so kind when my father lapsed into a coma. I hope he and Gary are enjoying that cigar and scotch together...

Tammy Huddleston

June 24, 2018

My deepest sympathy to the Burnett family. Dr. Burnett was my surgeon many years ago and I credit him with saving my life. He was determined to repair my damaged body so I could lead a normal life. His dry sense of humor made the hard days much easier for me and my family.

Lacy Ellis

May 27, 2018

I went to work at the surgical clinic in 2013-2015.....I knew of Dr.Burnett because his son is my oral surgeon and did lots of bass fishing with my brother in law.....I will never forget speaking to Dr. Burnett my first day and he kinda looked at me like I was crazy....apparently he didn’t get too attached too fast! Once I told him that Lin cut up my nappy teeth and bass fished with the Ellis clan , we had lots to discuss on our late lunches!!!! We always ate after the drug reps left!
He was one of a kind and I hated leaving there the most because of him!
Lin and family, you all are in my continued prayers!!! Thank you for sharing your amazing dad with so many people!!!!

Laura Boiger

May 23, 2018

Family of Dr Hugh Burnett,
I recently learned of Dr Burnett's passing. In February 2014 he saved my husband's life with his expert surgery skills and I just wanted to share that Dr Burnett had a huge impact on both of our lives and the lives of our two grown children. He was a wonderful person and doctor and I will forever be grateful that he gave my husband, Gary, an additional two years of quality life. My husband, a retired Detroit Police Detective Sergeant, and Dr. Burnett hit it off immediately, with conversations about guns and hunting. In fact it was at Dr. Burnett's suggestion that Gary joined the Benton Gun Club, and succeeded in getting another friend to join. They had mutual respect for each other and I'm sure they are having those same conversations now as they rest in peace with the Lord. God Bless You!!

Amy Frankel (Skinner)

May 23, 2018

One of the best and gone far too soon. I will be thinking of Dr. Burnett's family and of all the people who worked with him.

Sue Kell

May 22, 2018

Dear Wineland Family,
I'm so sorry for your loss.
Sue Kell

Todd Rowland

May 21, 2018

Dr. Burnett saved my life in 1978 when I was 12 years old. I was brought to Baptist with a gunshot wound to the chest. It was around 5 or 6 pm and Dr. Burnett was leaving the hospital for the day. He took the risk of operating on me without knowing who I was and without any sort of parental consent. God was watching over me that day. I am forever grateful.


May 19, 2018

I remember with great honor working with Dr. Burnett on 6A. His respect for his patients and those that worked with him has been constant reminder through the years of how wonderful people can be. Again a great honor to have known him. Condolences to his wife, Shirley, who he talked about at every opportunity with love and admiration.

Loren Morris

May 19, 2018

One of the funniest, kindest human I have met. Always had something witty to say. Even after a long day doing his rounds he would pop a smile. He had many admires among staff, and held everyone's respect. I remember a mistake I made with one of his patients, he sat there and listened to my explanation of events, he instead of yelling at me, or demeaning me he said "ok", and fixed it.
Everything I know and learned about Chest tubes was taught to me by this man, and I will never for get to keep the chest tube taped to the side.
Father God in the name of Jesus, be with the family and friends of the Burnett family. Comfort them, bring them peace. Let them find joy in his memories, and peace in his place with you father God. in Jesus name amen
Not good by Dr. Hugh Burnett, just till I see you on the other side.