Sherman Kay Burd

January 28, 1918December 10, 2012

Sherman Burd died on December 10, 2012, in Yakima, WA, where he and his wife, Frances, had recently moved to be near two of their daughters. Sherman was born on January 28, 1918, in Madison, WI, and moved with his family to Seattle at age 8, when his father took a position at the University of Washington. Sherm himself graduated from the U with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He made his career in that field, ultimately earning his P.E. and starting his own electrical engineering business.

As a young man, Sherm worked in the fisheries industry in Alaska to pay for his college education. During one of these summers, he met Frances, who had been given a trip there as a high school graduation present from her brother. After their marriage and the birth of two daughters, in 1948 Sherm and Frances settled into their Bellevue home where they remained until fall of 2012. Alaska continued to figure prominently in his adult life -- his business and many of life-long friends were centered there.

To all who knew him, Sherm was a man of enormous loyalty and integrity whose mentorship set an example for many. Sherm was deeply proud of the four women he left behind -- his wife, Frances, and his daughters Janice (Jon Conrad), Nancy (Geoff Hodge), and Stephanie (Steve Weise). Having had no sons of his own, he was doubly proud to be the grandparent of 5 wonderful grandsons, Andrew and Benjamin (Janice); Ian (Nancy); Peter and Joel (Stephanie), and of his new role as "GGPa" to his greatgrandchildren, Grady and McKenna (Andrew). In addition, he leaves behind loving nieces and nephews and their families, all located in the Pacific NW, who will miss him.

Sherm's long, productive life can be attributed to his strength of mind and body, to the care and concern of his family, to the discoveries of modern medicine -- and to his good luck. His mylogenous leukemia was kept at the chronic level for many years because of the expertise of his doctors and the wonders of modern drugs. In the hopes that others so afflicted can find treatment and ultimately a cure, his family asks that gifts in his memory be directed to the Seattle Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society --

A memorial service in his honor will be held on Saturday, January 26, at 11:00 a.m. at the Highland Community Center, 14224 Bel Red Road, Bellevue, WA.


  • Memorial Service Saturday, January 26, 2013
  • Memorial Service Saturday, January 26, 2013
  • Sherman Burd Memorial Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sherman Kay Burd

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Judi Drakeley

February 8, 2013

So sorry to hear about this..
Sherm was one of my favorite girlfriends Dads...I so appreciated his and Fran's presense when my Dad passed.

February 1, 2013

For my dear friend and mentor…

One of my greatest blessings has been to have had Sherman Burd in my life. We met when we were young and we have grown old together in a never ending deep and abiding mutual friendship.
I first met Sherm in Port Althorp, Alaska where my stepfather was superintendent of a salmon cannery. Sherm was a summer employee who truly impressed my Dad as being a bright and responsible young man. I was six years younger than Sherm and my Dad asked him to keep an eye on me since I, at the age of thirteen, tended to take the bit in my mouth at times.
We had a lot in common. We both loved Alaska and we both loved a handsome towboat called the Sally S. upon which we periodically served as deckhands.
Port Althorp was a place of great storms and was also steeped in a quality of beauty impossible to describe. Snow capped peaks dropped into an emerald bay filled with the vitality of sea creatures beyond imagination. Wild life in abundance roamed the mountainsides and beaches including the huge Alaskan Brown Bear.
To sum up my deep feelings about my dear friend, I would like to take a few lines to tell you of one unforgettable afternoon we spent together. It was a Sunday and we had the day off. In the early afternoon, I suggested to Sherman that we row up to the head of the bay for a picnic. We loaded up a seine skiff and caught the afternoon tide surge which made for easy rowing. The head of the bay was seldom visited thus rich in wildlife…particularly bear and deer. We beached the boat very carefully to allow for a quick exit and ate our sandwiches with one eye on the boat and one on the surrounding tree line.
Sherman's quiet confidence made him a natural leader and mentor. During our brief stay on the pebbled shore we talked of many things, college, life, friendship and fish. I was never treated as a “kid,” but always as an equal. I began to strive for that status that for him came so naturally. His advise and counsel changed my life. It was his gift to me.
As we pulled away from the beach I picked up a rifle I had brought in the skiff and lined up to shoot a raven that was scavenging on a gravel bar we passed. Sherm tapped my shoulder and said, “Eddie, why kill that raven in a beautiful place like this?” It was a question delivered gently and tactfully. ..pure Sherman Burd. I put down the gun, a little chastised and a world wiser.
It has been more than seventy-five years since that afternoon, I have never forgotten it. Nor will I ever forget my dear friend and mentor whose quiet counsel and friendship has brightened my life.

Ed Larson

Janice Conrad

January 29, 2013

It's hard to remember my father outside the context of his relationship with my mother. He and Mom were partners and did almost everything together – gardening, washing and drying the dishes, doing income tax. As Depression-era children, Dad and Mom lived their adult lives the way many are trying to do today: by preserving scarce resources, reusing and recycling wherever possible, leaving a small footprint. Hard work for them was fun – they could see what they accomplished. But Mom and Dad liked to play too. They knew the pleasures of bringing good friends, family, food and fun together. My happy memories of them include their square dancing, which they did right here in this facility, vacations at Long Beach, a good day's fishing or berry picking and their monthly gatherings with their dinner group, the “Stuffers”.
My parents taught by example. They were models of civic engagement, and taught me the importance of giving back: They took us to PTA meetings and to the voting booth. Any issue involving our schools had their attention. They supported their neighbors, as our neighbors supported my parents. They were community activists, putting a stake in the ground on any encroachment on their beloved south Bellevue neighborhood.
When we were kids, Dad would cook us Sunday morning breakfasts while Mom took some extra time in bed. He would make pancakes and waffles and other things that were not weekday fare. After we girls left home, he continued his love of cooking by stirring up pots of soup and baking his famous box brownies.
He did love his chocolate, which he would hide in secret places, squirreling candies in his cabin, his work bench and even his car. He called it his harmless addiction, and one time he told me that if it were anything else, we would all be in trouble.
He had his unique passions– Alaska for example, a good argument, ham radio, the GOP, his boat, his little cabin which was his man-cave.
He wanted to live forever, and we thought he might live to be a hundred at least. He took good care of himself, eating good, nutritious food, healthful chocolate, and learning everything he could about vitamin supplements, developing a special zeal for Vitamin C. He exercised at the Mercer Island Community Center and sharpened his mind by memorizing his favorite Robert Service poems.
Dad's character was unquestioned. It was his most appealing characteristic, in my opinion. He could tell a man by his handshake. I can't recall him lecturing me about character or ethics. It was a part of his fiber, and his example set our moral compasses. As a result, his three daughters can spot character – or the lack of it – a mile away, and we are drawn to people with it. All three of us have wonderful sons – Jon and I have Andrew and Benj who are here today, Nan has Ian, and Steph and Steve have Peter and Joel who are also with us today. I'm proud to say that Dad's character lives on in each of these young men.
The women Andrew, Benj, and Peter have chosen to spend their lives with – Melissa, Melissa, and Jessica – also mirror the kind of character that was Dad. Dad loved and was enormously proud of his all of us. We will be forever grateful that he was able to spend so many productive years on this Earth.


January 25, 2013

I have known (and loved) Sherm and Fran for over 50 years! They were parents of my college roommate Janice and were very special to me. He'll be missed. Diana

Stephanie Weise(youngest daughter)

January 23, 2013

Remembering Dad
My Dad had many admirable, public qualities. We all know how much he loved his work, family and friends. But as I looked back on what was special about Dad and the legacy he leaves behind, I realize he was a man of complementary characteristics and he achieved the kind of balanced life that many people admire, but few achieve.

Maybe because he grew up during the Depression, Dad was an original recycler and reuser. He could fix anything and often his materials and methods were unorthodox.
Immediately upon meeting my Dad most people knew that he was smart and opinionated. And although the women in his household often wished he would refrain from launching into yet another “lively discussion,” others enjoyed his intelligence and love for a good debate.

During my teen years I first realized this very practical man with a scientific, engineering mind was also a man filled with a passion for music & poetry and debating. Being the baby of the family, I had no idea that my dad loved to recite poetry until we attended a family reunion. Everyone else but me seemed to know Dad enjoyed this, so when everyone settled around a blazing campfire, it didn't take much to nudge Dad into action. To my surprise, as he sat beside the fire he dramatically recited
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Over the years he memorized more than Robert Service's writings. He continued to memorize and recite poetry and sayings until the end of his life.

When I think back, another example of Dad's mix of characteristics wasn't contradictory at all. During junior high, mom and I stayed with him on the job in Alaska. As an aside, Mom was ahead of her time in terms of healthy eating and when Dad was home we always ate healthy, low cholesterol, no bread, no gravy, no eggs etc diet. But in Alaska we learned that his regular fare, like so many workers there, wasn't salad and veggies, it was steak, biscuits, ice cream, eggs and bacon every day!

I learned more important things about Dad on that trip. I learned that he was admired by his colleagues and relished the role of mentor. I also learned that beyond his dietary indulgences, he behaved with integrity and balance on the job. In later years, friends as well as men he mentored would share with us how Dad never “let loose” in Alaska. He was steady and set a great example. He was a man of his word, respected and generous in his mentoring. Last week one of his good friends commented that both he and Dad were born in the Year of the Monkey. When I asked what that signified he replied, “We're both smart and generous.”

He taught me to love Alaska and when I finally got to go and work there myself, I loved when he would come visit me while he was on a job. I will always remember him asking me if I wanted to order a drink with dinner and realizing he did not mean Pepsi! It is always a milestone when a child gets to share that first “legal” drink with a parent. And I always felt safe in Fairbanks because of the friends that Dad worked with there. I knew that I had someone to call if I ever needed help. Both our parents believed in “networking” long before the Internet age.

Another great time I spent with Dad was when he and I motored his little boat to Alderbrook Resort. We launched the boat right down the road from our home, cruised over Lake Washington, thru the Channel, the Locks and headed to Hood Canal. This was a choppy, all day journey with many stops for gas. We finally stopped to camp on a beach. I ended up getting up in the middle of the night, waded out to our boat and slept precariously on the bow. The sand fleas were so bad, I couldn't stand it! But that part of our big adventure didn't hold a candle to what I learned earlier on the beach during our bonfire chat. That evening, as we sat and cooked dinner on a fire, my Dad shared how much he loved Mom. He shared how he never understood how she put up with him and stayed with him and how blessed he was. He was in it for the long haul.

Dad's sharing that night had a huge impact on my feelings of security and expectations for the rest of my life. I realized that I had something special in terms of my parents' relationship and that realization set the bar for my own marriage. They had probably been married close to the same amount of years that I have now been married to my husband. I hope to say that I will have spent the next 35 years with Steve and continue the legacy of 70 years of marriage!

Several other memories from around this time also had a big impact on my life. For starters, every Sunday Dad and I enjoyed a routine. We took our trash to the dump and then prowled the place for “treasures.” We would find furniture and Dad would say, “You could refinish that.” Eventually, I was doing just that; refinishing furniture pieces that I still own today. Oh, yes, after the dump we always stopped at Albertsons for maple bars(12/$1)!

Another incident during my middle school years remains incredibly vivid and reminds me of Dad's complementary qualities. Dad and I were in a “debate” about a situation I had in school. After another lecture, I stormed to my room crying, “You just don't understand!” Well, I guess he understood better than I could ever know. He followed me into my room and asked me to open my Bible to the 23rd Psalm. He calmly suggested that I memorize it and recite it whenever I felt angry and frustrated -like I felt at that moment. I accepted his challenge and I stayed up and memorized the psalm and it has been a comfort to me ever since. He leads me beside the still waters and restores my soul….As a Christian, it has also been a great comfort to me to glimpse this spiritual side of my father.

For years Dad had a pretty obnoxious workout and morning routine. During my early teens when all I wanted to do was sleep in, he would run, pounding 100 times up and down our 13 stairs! Getting up and getting ready for work involved a lot of loud noises. I never understood how I was supposed to be able to sleep in and get my beauty sleep while Dad did his morning routine right outside my door!

Later in life I came to appreciate his keen desire to live a long, healthy life. He was willing to try “miracle” products but he also participated in exercise classes at the Mercer Island Community Center that enhanced the fitness, friends and fun part of his elder life. Like so many disciplined men of his era, he refused to let pain interfere with his life. Sometimes we wished he would let down his defenses, especially toward the end of life when he hid health issues all too well. He fought and researched every health issue to the fullest.

Dad was a creative thinker, tinkerer and saver. He built a second floor on our family home, dug out a basement and built a garage. He loved his “man caves” in the garage, radio shack and basement. You can imagine how much has been saved since 1948!

Dad really enjoyed his many good friends and the occasional guilty pleasure. For example, Dad nurtured a charming addiction to chocolate. Over the years we would discover chocolate “stashed” in all sorts of nooks and crannies in his ham radio shack and around the house. Since he watched his figure and the latest science, he was known to nibble for hours on his self-imposed, daily ration of one, single ounce of dark chocolate. I definitely inherited the chocolate gene from Dad, but not that level of discipline. I am a true chocoholic!

I miss my Dad. I am sad that he was not able to achieve some of his goals and that we did not get to see some of our dreams for him come to fruition. What I miss most is the way he took care of Mom, the woman he said, “I will always love” on that beach so long ago on Hood Canal.

Most proud of his family, the home he built with his own hands and his role as a mentor and friend, Dad passed on to us much more than a love of chocolate and the purity of unconditional love. I am grateful he taught me and my sisters how to be independent and self-sufficient Modeling through his own behavior, Dad also encouraged our strengths as well as armed us with the ability to work hard and to work through difficulties and at times physical pain. He taught us how to be the type of person he was, complete and balanced. He helped us learn how to be both grounded and passionate. I can see now that in many ways he taught us how to be the best of him: consistent, kind and true to our word.

Thanks Dad. You made us a good life. You are always in our hearts and memories. Like you always told Mom, “you've raised three wonderful girls.”

January 14, 2013

It was very sad for us to close another chapter in our lives with Sherm's passing. Both Fran and Sherm have always been a rock for us. Peter is going to miss the intense discussions with Sherm when they talked about engineering and politics. Our favorite saying in our family now was originated with our son, Paul, who when visiting Gran would always say "call Sherm". He was the one who could fix anything and he always did - even very old screen doors! The memory of Sherm will always warm our hearts. Peter and Shelagh

Nancy Mallahan (middle daughter)

January 11, 2013

My Dad
It is doubtful that I will be able to speak at my Dad's Memorial Service, so, I will use this venue to ‘speak' here. I'll prepare you. This will be wordy. How does one truly speak of 94 years of live? I will only be able to touch on the 65 years that I knew.
My father could fix anything—well, perhaps not the 78 vinyl of ‘Oh My Papa' I sat on
(“Mommy, it's ok. Daddy fix it”), but anything else he could fix or build. When a hyperactive daughter needed a trampoline, he built what we called “the jumping board.”
Sandbox, wading pool, tetherball pole, stillts—he built them all. When one (hyperactive) daughter fell knee-first into glass on New Years Eve, he decided (as dental floss and needle boiled on the stove), better the knee be sutured by a sober electrical engineer than a partying pediatrician. When we wanted bikes, he found abandoned, rusted bikes and carefully refurbished them as Christmas presents—Janny's was sky blue with whitewalls. Mine was forest green with white pin stripes. When he wanted a camper for a family trip to California down 101, he redesigned our Ford sedan to be a car by day and a complete self-contained camping/sleeping unit at night. When we wanted room of our own (and Mom & Dad wanted some peace and quiet), he raised the roof of the house and added a bath and two bedrooms. For months (years, it seemed) we went to sleep at night to the sound of sawing and hammering overhead as he worked upstairs after putting in a full day at the office. On weekends, we worked along side of him learning how to insulate, wire, plumb, put up ceiling tile, put down hardwood floors. When we wanted a playhouse, he built the little brown cabin (which became his personal sanctuary later in life). When we wanted a “Rec Room, like the other (1950's) kids,” he built a conveyor belt, stuck it down the outside stairwell to the basement level, placed a wheelbarrow at the top end of the belt, then handed each of us a shovel. He pointed and said, there's your Rec Room. We now have a full basement. When he taught us to drive, it was with a stick shift so we could ‘feel' what the car was trying to tell us—with practice runs in Evergreen Village or Surrey Downs. Then, we would head to Denny Hill in Seattle to practice our ‘skills.' Oh, my. When we begged to take his little boat our water skiing, he taught us the safety trailer/boat drill, how to back the trailer down the boat ramp at the slew, how to prime the gas tank, apply the choke without flooding and adjust the idle of a very temperamental old Evinrude. Two ‘big girls' heading out alone, learning to reattach steering cables (he forgot to tell us about that) and at least once, swimming while pulling the boat rope, to the shore of Lake Washington.
With my Dad, no project was approached without a well-conceived plan (often ‘blue-printed' on TP or a napkin), then discussed in detail with the family (generally, increasing the size and number of blue-prints) before proceeding. We learned that these plans resulted in work and we learned that it took hard work to accomplish most things. We also learned the pride one takes in that accomplishment. (We also learned that singing or humming while you work makes any task ‘fun.') Most importantly, we learned we could do just about anything. This is one of many gifts. He taught honesty--by example, love-- by being true to the one (and ones) he loved, loyalty by the friends he has made and kept throughout the years. The gift of his life will live on in all of us, in our children and in their children. Luckily, he saw this happening before he left this world. I know we will smile when we see more glimpses of him down the road.
My Dad could fix things. He could even mend broken hearts by teaching us how to mend our own. My saddest regret is that, in the end, we could not fix his. I love you, Dad.

Reggie and Dale Burns

January 8, 2013

I met Sherm a couple of times while visiting my daughter, Crystal. He and Fran were such gracious, friendly people. Because our daughter was so far away from her own family,they filled a void as adopted relatives. Thank you so much for that, Fran and Sherm.

Renay Bennett

January 8, 2013

With great sadness I was told of Sherm's passing.

I have known Sherm for 20 years; we first met at our neighborhood association meeting. From the first, I realized that he was a sharp, well spoken, well researched fellow and one that I would much like on my side - and that includes Fran! Sherm served on our Bellecrest Neighborhood Association Board for several years and was a solid, thoughtful rock in heated debates on several issues. He was instrumental in ushering in the new by-laws for our association, which passed unanimously. In fact, I remember he and I 'going at it' on one of the amendments - which he won - should have known better! Oh, I will miss those debates. Sherm (and Fran) never missed an association annual meeting, always paid their dues, and were always ready to help in any way. As a long serving President, you couldn't ask for better members or neighbors.

Sherm is one of the smartest men I know. There were many battles we fought, mainly against city hall. Sherm always showed up to every meeting, sent letters, sent emails, made phone calls, stuffed envelopes, donated money, and on and on. Whatever needed doing, he and Fran were first to volunteer.

The world is a lesser place because we have lost a real patriot and true gentleman.

God Bless You, Sherm. Words can never express my sincere appreciation for all you did. I will never forget you.

Crystal McGowan

January 7, 2013

Fran, Janice, Nancy and Stephanie, I know you are all strong women and hope you are finding comfort in the love and memories shared with each other and family and friends. I cannot imagine Sherm any way other than strong and vibrant.

My favorite thoughts of Sherm are of his hands holding my children as newborns and how big and powerful his hands were and how small and comfortable the babies looked when he held them. When he spoke they were drawn to his deep voice rich with warmth. It was beautiful to watch him with each one.

He always had time to play with the kids when we visited - the same games over and over. Telling them what color the rings are as they stacked them on his fingers or asking which toy would fit inside the toy delivery truck. Always teaching and engaging and caring and patient.

Being in his presence was calming to me. His strength of mind and body and character gave him the feeling of unfailing steadiness - a rock.

Fran, you and Sherm welcomed Rob and I into the neighborhood immediately. My family was 3000 miles away when we found out we were having our first child. Moving so far and knowing no one in Bellevue could have made that a very scary and lonely time, but I had you.

The hugs, the chats, the tours of the area and always having you and Sherm right next door, caring about us, made Bellevue home for me and I cannot thank you enough.

Sherm, you are loved. You are missed. You are remembered.