Ronald Gerald Burnett
September 14, 1924 – October 5, 2019
One of five sons, Ron was born in the East End of London during the Great Depression. His family faced many hardships and challenges as one might expect. Throughout all this they remained ever loyal and caring to one another while persevering with dignity and strength. From this Ron learned true grit, determination, quick intelligence, adaptability, and practicality. These were qualities which defined his character and served him well throughout his 95 years of life.
As soon as Ron came of age he volunteered to join the British Royal Navy. This was at the height of World War II when England was most threatened by the encroaching forces of the Third Reich. Ron served upon the HMS Campanula and HMS Torrington. He took part in the infamous D-day invasion. After the war ended he served for a brief time in the Merchant Navy.
Wanting a change from a life at sea, Ron decided to develop his natural talent for Speedway motorcycle racing. Having a true gift for this sport, he was soon recruited by the Liverpool Chads and later by the Aldershot Shots. After much success racing motorcycles he tried his hand at stock car racing with equal ability.
It was during this time that he met the love of his life--Shirley Goodyear. They soon married and had two sons, Robert and Tyrone. Ron opened a used car dealership/auto repair shop in London to support his young family. Ever adventurous and motivated to live life to the fullest, a family decision was made not long after to move to America. They lived in upstate New York and then in sunny California where the weather was arguably much better. The family resided in many areas in the state before finally settling in San Jose while making many friends along the way. Here Ron opened up a new auto repair shop. He taught both of his sons how to be gifted auto mechanics.
Sadly, Shirley suffered a catastrophic stroke which resulted in a dramatic change in her personality, speech, and physical ability. Ron was no stranger to adversity and drew upon his inner strength and love of family to care for and support his wife for the next 30+ years.
Ron was a real character with a dry wit. He loved a good practical joke and always kept this light and fun, though his targets were most often caught off guard and unaware. Ron loved to talk and tell many stories of his exciting life and times. He would often extol for hours while speaking in a thick Cockney accent which even left some English folks struggling to understand him. His American friends and family were particularly challenged to follow along in conversation with him. It was always worth the effort to try! At his auto repair shop, Ron would talk to his customers endlessly for extended periods of time. Ron was not a boring man and had many exciting tales to tell. He loved a good debate and had a strong opinion on most subjects.
Ron loved children and animals and had a real way with dogs and horses. He could take a crying child and have them giggling with glee within minutes and could always be depended upon to help friends and family in times of need.
Ron’s passing has left a huge hole in all of our hearts. He was such a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and friend. He is dearly missed. Ron is survived by his two sons Robert and Ty and by his daughter-in-law Tamara and grandchildren Robyn and Trevor.
- Memorial Service Sunday, October 13, 2019
- Reception immediately following