Richard Louis ‘Dick’ Burkhalter, 1933 – 2021: Always full of good humor

Richard Louis “Dick” Burkhalter, 87, a longtime summer resident of Shingletown, CA, passed away on April 5, 2021, after a short illness, at his home in Orinda, surrounded by his family.

Dick was born in Glendale, CA, on April 30, 1933 to Avis and Louis Burkhalter. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Betty Burkhalter, son Bruce Burkhalter, daughter Lynda Burkhalter and her husband David Blackmon, three grandchildren, Hannah, Brian and Allison, daughter-in-law Barbara Burkhalter and sister Suzanne Carder.

Dick graduated from Lincoln High School in San Francisco, served in the US Army during the Korean War and, upon return, attended Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA, where he earned a degree in mechanical engineering. Dick married Betty McDiarmid in 1962, began Filtrex, an industrial filter business, and, in 1970, moved to Orinda, CA.

Following retirement in 1990, Dick joined the Orinda chapter of Rotary International, served as president, chaired countless committees, and assisted with the RotaPlast program, traveling to Venezuela, El Salvador and Bangladesh, to support medical teams repairing children’s cleft lips and palates.

Dick was also involved with the Redding Rotary and the Lions Club of Shingletown, where he and Betty spent every summer. As one of the primary Rotary contacts, Dick was instrumental in securing two grants to fund year-round eye care at the International Vision Volunteers Zimba Eye Clinic in rural Zambia. Along with overseeing the grant, Dick also advised on construction and engineering decisions and helped to outline and guide procedures. Through the Lions Club and Shingletown Volunteer Fire Department, Dick was able to procure the donation of an ambulance, coordinating its delivery to a town in Mexico and even helping to drive it to Mexico!

Dick also volunteered with Grandfathers’ Club of America, Soccer 4 All, and a number of local organizations in both Shingletown and Orinda, including the Shingletown Historical Society, where Dick made a dedicated, though ultimately unsuccessful, effort to bring the Best Steam Tractor, an artifact of pioneering ingenuity that had been acquired by the Oakland Museum of California, back to its original location in Shingletown.

Dick was an avid traveler, visiting over 120 countries on six continents. A devoted husband, father and grandfather, he supported and encouraged his family in their endeavors and loved spending time with them, especially during summers spent at the cabin in Shingletown, which he and his parents and grandparents built in 1960. Always full of good humor and enthusiasm, Dick will be deeply missed by his family and friends. No services are planned.

In honor of Dick’s memory, please volunteer with or donate to an organization you value.

– Written by Dick Burkhalter’s family.

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