D.George Burdette

February 22, 1927June 5, 2019
Play Tribute Movie

D. George Burdette, age 92, of Peoria, passed away Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at 10:10 a.m. at his residence at Lutheran Hillside Village in Peoria. He was born Feb. 22, 1927 in Peoria County to Earl and Marie (Dembinski) Burdette. He married Phyllis Miller of March 20, 1948 in Washington. She survives along with two sons: Michael (Debbie) Burdette of Washington, Richard (Marsha) Burdette of Peoria, one daughter,Carla (Larry) Lawrence of Naples, FL, five grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. He was preceded death by his parents, five sisters and two brothers. George was a United States Navy Veteran serving in WWII. Following his time in the military he was a teacher, principal, associate superintendent, and coach for District 150 for 50 years retiring in 2002. He was a member of the Downtown Peoria Rotary club, and was a very active member of the Forrest Hill United Methodist Church. George was a captain of the Peoria High baseball team in 1944. He played on the Sunday morning league and is a member of the Peoria High Hall of Fame. He was instrumental in developing the District 150 Gifted Program. He was on the first board of directors for the Human Relations commissions in Peoria. He was on the State Advisory Board for Special Education, and was past president of the Peoria Principals Association. George was a member of the US China Exchange Program and received from the State Board of Education “The Award for Excellence”. Visitation will be Sunday, June 9, 2019 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Davison-Fulton Woodland Chapel. Funeral services will be Monday, June 10, 2019 at 11 a.m. at the Forrest Hill United Methodist Church in Peoria. Additional visitation will be from 10 to 10:45 a.m. Monday at the church. Cremation rites will be accorded following the services. Burial will be in Parkview Cemetery at a later date with Military Honors. Memorials may be made to Forrest Hill United Methodist Church or Lutheran Hillside Village. You may view George’s obituary online at


  • Earl Burdette, Father
  • Marie (Dembinski) Burdette, Mother
  • Phyllis (Miller) Burdette, Wife
  • Michael (Debbie) Burdette, Son
  • Richard (Marsha) Burdette, Son
  • Carla (Larry) Lawrence, Daughter
  • - Five -, Grandchildren
  • - Nine -, Great Grandchildren
  • He was preceded death by his parents, five sisters and two brothers.

  • Forrest Hill Methodist Church
  • Lutheran Hillside Village



  • Visitation Sunday, June 9, 2019
  • Visitation Monday, June 10, 2019
  • Funeral Service Monday, June 10, 2019
  • Burial Thursday, June 13, 2019


  • Cremation Rites Have been Accorded


D.George Burdette

have a memory or condolence to add?

Kerry Leiby

June 9, 2019

My sincere condolences to the Burdette's and extended family members. George was a strong leader and always very supportive during my tenure in Peoria District 150. I always enjoyed visiting with him and playing basketball too. I was always so proud to work under the direction of that particular administrative team. He truly lived a life of service. May the memories of George comfort you in the days ahead. God bless the Burdette family.


June 9, 2019

The older you get, the more you realize and truly appreciate the impact certain people had in your life. As a member of the WGS class of ’72, I’m pretty choked up reading the obituary and watching the tribute video to the life of George Burdette. Captain of the Peoria High baseball team…. Peoria High Hall of Fame… WWII veteran. And yes, one of the architects of Peoria’s Gifted Program. Of course, none of us knew or appreciated any of that while we were in grade school. But George Burdette was never egotistical and grandstanding was never a part of his DNA. He was dignified, self-assured and confident … but never pompous or vain. Quiet leader and motivator… but never over-bearing. All of this is what made him so effective as a communicator and an educator.
Even though he was only a part of my school life from 6th through 8th grade, George Burdette’s (and the entire WGS faculty) influence and impact on my future was immense and I think most of my classmates would agree with that.

Just over a year ago, George shared a story with me as a group of my WGS classmates honored him for his military service in WWII aboard the USS Hickox. He told me that he was actually not supposed to be on the Hickox, but had been pulled out of line and reassigned to the Hickox at the last minute, literally as his group was getting ready to board another ship…. the USS Indianapolis. He never learned why he had been pulled out of that line, but clearly God had other and bigger plans for him. And he did not disappoint. The countless people he mentored with his wisdom, his leadership and his soft-spoken inspiration.... we are all grateful.
Sailor … rest your oar.
John Fraser-WGS Class of 1972

John Fraser

John Dickison

June 8, 2019

Mr. Burdette didn't suffer fools lightly, but he had great tolerance, forgiveness, empathy and a light touch for a whole bunch of purported young geniuses in 1960s Peoria . He was a great advocate of encouraging standards of excellence and at the same time provided ample leeway for the outliers to be afforded sufficient--and much needed--slack. He schooled his teachers to challenge their students, but also insisted the teachers have thick skins and open minds when the young Frankenstudents openly challenged those previously unassailable autocrats of the classroom. He was a pioneer in cultivating respect FOR young minds, and he harvested a bumper crop of respect from minds young and old alike.

I was a frequent flyer to the principal's office, and our relationship was almost Pavlovian. The 6th grade intercom would click, and many eyes were conditioned to dart to me before we ever heard him utter the words, "Mrs. Guariglia, would you send John Dickison to the office, please?" And she would invariably respond, "John, what did you do THIS time?" Sometimes I knew, sometimes I was surprised when I got to the office. But there was always respect, and even when I was in the deepest dirt, there always seemed to be a twinkle in Mr. Burdette's eye, although he managed always to keep a straight face. In later years, our greetings were always warm, genuine and unembarrassed. He taught us dignity because he showed us dignity.

I didn't realize it until maybe 2010 that he was also a PHS classmate of my uncle, Dick Millikan, who lived next door to my Mom. Dick and George had remained fast friends, lunch partners and neighbors at Lutheran Hillside until Uncle Dick's death a few years ago. Mr. Burdette and I kept tabs on one another and also conveyed greetings to one another through my uncle. He also kept tabs on many Washington School grads and joined us for many of our reunions, including our 45th in 2017.

A-plus, Mr. Burdette, A-plus. And thank you. JD '72

Tracey Kupper

June 8, 2019

Mr. Burdette was one of the kindest men I ever had the pleasure of working with. He came to my classroom door four years in a row and personally told me I was RIF’d (even after receiving ten year) but assured me that they would find a place for me to return to the district each year! It always happened and I respected his compassion he shared with me as a beginning teacher in 1979-today. My sincere condolences to his family. 🙏🏼

Denise Johnson

June 8, 2019

Heartfelt condolences go out to Phyllis and the immediate family while George was a resident at LHV.

Micki Ritter-Kacmar

June 8, 2019

Mr. Burdette was one of the major educational forces in my life. As a graduate of Washington Grade School class of 72 the desire of life long learning was instilled is us by the faculty lead by Mr Burdette. He was always willing to listen to the students' ideas for changes that would improve our education. Heartfelt thanks to Mr. Burdette for his vision and innovative spirit. Micki Ritter Kacmar

Paul and Alice Bahnfleth

June 7, 2019

Mike, Debbie, and family,

So sorry to hear about George's passing. Alice and I will be out of town during the time of the
visitation and funeral service. Our thoughts and prayers will be with you.

Jacqueline Worley

June 6, 2019

I had the privilege of teaching in the beginnings of the "Gifted Program" of Peoria under Mr. Burdette, (I could never call him George even as a teacher working under him, because I simply had far too much respect for him). I had my very first job as the German/Spanish teacher from 1968-1971. Even though I have now been around education for more than 50 years, I have NEVER known a better principal, mentor and program developer than Mr. Burdette. As you already know, he was a very special and wonderful man who positively influenced hundreds, maybe thousands, of lives. The world is a better place because he was here to lead us. He will always hold a very special place in my heart.