PAW PAW — Burl Joseph Ghastin passed away on Jan. 25, 2014, at Bronson Hospital, leaving the many lives he touched with fond memories of kindness, devotion, generosity and humor. Burl was born on March 23, 1937, in Traverse City, the fifth of six children of Jim and Bridget Ghastin.
He met the love of his life, Anita Miller, in 1950 when they were in the sixth grade. In 1956 Burl and Anita graduated from Traverse City St. Francis High School. Burl and Anita married in 1957.
Burl attended Northwestern Michigan College and graduated from Western Michigan University in 1992. He and his daughter, Sherry, graduated together in 1992.
His career with the Michigan State Police began in 1964 and ended in 1989. During his career he experienced a great many terrible events and wonderful occasions. He was in Detroit during the 1967 riots. He was very proud when the seat belt law was passed. He loved his job and often commented that he couldn’t believe he got paid for working with the Michigan State Police.
Education was very important to Burl. He was on the Paw Paw School Board and proudly was able to give all four of his children their diplomas from Paw Paw. He was a 20-plus year member of the Van Buren Intermediate School Board. He was instrumental in beginning a county school board association. He also was a member of the Michigan State School Board Association for several years. He served one term as president of the Michigan School Board Association.
Burl “dotted the “i” in “avid” when it came to being a sports fan – especially if either the Detroit Tigers or Notre Dame was involved. Burl took up running in 1995 and in June 2005 – at age 68 – completed the Sunburst Marathon in South Bend, crossing the finish line beneath the outstretched arms of “Touchdown Jesus” in Notre Dame Stadium.
Burl was active as a Lector and Eucharistic minister at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Paw Paw for over 40 years.
Burl was predeceased by his parents and a sister, Theresa (Richards).
Surviving are his wife, Anita; their four children, Jerry, Jon (Mary VanderWeele), Donna Neyome and Sherry (Vince) Vacha; seven grandchildren, Ben Beckwith, Taylor and Emily Ghastin, Ruby and Harvey Ghastin, Elizabeth Neyome and Madissen Vacha; sister, Mary Worm; and brothers, Martin (Bernie), Jack (Carolyn) and Jim (Cynthia).
Visitation will be held Sunday, Feb. 2, from 2 to 4 p.m., at Adams Funeral Home in Paw Paw, where a rosary recitation will be held at 3:30 p.m. A funeral Mass will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Paw Paw at 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, followed by a luncheon.
Memorials may be made to the Paw Paw Elementary School library fund.
Share a memory or sign the guestbook at www.adamspawpaw.com.