Burton W. (Burt) Unruh, 68, of Wichita, KS, died July 6th, 2020 at home surrounded by his family. Burt was born June 11, 1952 in Landour, U.P., India, while his parents, Willard H. Unruh and Selma E. (Dick) Unruh, were serving there as missionaries.
Burt graduated from Newton High School in 1970 and continued his education for a short time at Bethel College in North Newton.
On June 6th, 1981, Burt married Katherine (Fowler) Unruh in Wichita, KS. Their union blended Burt’s children, Christopher and Stephanie and Kathy’s daughter, Melissa together as a family.
Burt owned and operated a residential remodeling and design company for most of his adult life. He dabbled in sales and screen printing, but his true passion was woodworking. Burt served as president of the Sunflower Woodworkers Guild and held other esteemed positions within the guild. He was also a member of a local Tai Chi group that met for several years at the YMCA. Once Burt retired, he opened his wood shop to friends and family, teaching wood working techniques and sharing tools with whoever showed up. His friends referred to the group as “Burt’s Barn” but to his wife, it was lovingly called “the play group”. He and his friends met monthly to work on a wide variety of projects and spend the day socializing.
Burt was an “exceptional child” as his mother would say. He would get himself into trouble for not thinking before he acted or spoke. He was loud and opinionated; at times he was inflexible and harsh with his words. As Burt grew older he mellowed with the arrival of his grandchildren, Janessa, and Max. He enjoyed spending time with his brothers and sisters, mentally sparring over current events as well as social & economic issues. Burt was always ready for a lively debate. He loved family debates so much that he encouraged his children, nieces, and nephews, like his father before him, to question what they read and heard, to be aware of what was going on in the world around them and to form educated opinions. Burt led by example with his passion for knowledge. He was surrounded by endless piles of books, magazines, and newspapers throughout and until the end of his life.
Burt is survived by his wife Kathy of 39 years, son Christopher Unruh of Chandler, AZ; daughter Melissa (Unruh) Woods of Wichita; daughter Stephanie (Unruh) Helmstadter and husband Jason of Sun Prairie, WI. Siblings: Paul W Unruh and wife Shirley of Greensburg; Carol (Unruh) Buller and husband Jerry of Newton; Louise (Unruh) Hurwitz of Peachtree Corners, GA and Allan W Unruh and wife DaLene of Valley Center. Grandchildren: Janessa Woods and Max Helmstadter, along with several nieces and nephews. Burt was preceded in death by his parents, Willard H. Unruh and Selma E. (Dick) Unruh.
Services will be held at Bethel College Mennonite Church on August 1st, 2020 at 10:00am for immediate family.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to KPTS Channel 8 in memory of Burton (Burt) Unruh. You can do so by calling (800) 794-8498.
Burt was a good friend and a very talented wood worker. Many of his fellow wood Guild members will miss him . I will pray for him and his family!