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Burl Ketchum, 82, died unexpectedly on Jan. 24, 2008. Burl was born on Oct. 5, 1925, in Moriland, Ark., the fourth child of Harvey Ketchum and the former Launa Ferguson.
Burl was preceded in death by his parents; a stillborn brother; sister, Adell Russell of Dell, Ark.; and brother, J.D. Ketchum of Chicago, Ill. He was also preceded in death by his beloved wife of 31 years, Vera Ruth Montgomery, and his second wife, high-school sweetheart Patsy Shownes, his wife of six years.Mr. Ketchum served in the Sea Bees from 1943-1946 as a Machinist’s mate. After honorable discharge he moved to Los Alamos in 1947, where he was employed by the Los Alamos Fire Department. He then reenlisted in 1951 and served aboard the U.S.S. Alshain until his second honorable discharge.After his second discharge he returned to Los Alamos (still a closed city) with his wife Ruth and baby daughter. He resumed work at the LAFD and was also employed by Los Alamos National Laboratory until his retirement. Burl later moved to Rio Rancho in 1993 to be close to his children.He is survived by his son, Gregory Ketchum, and grandchildren, Cassandra Renae and Gregory Allen Jr.; and his daughter, Cheryl Nelson, son-in-law, John Nelson, and grandchildren Matthew Lucas, Daniel Montgomery and Johanna Bethany, all residents of Albuquerque.Burl will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Like many of his generation he grew up on the farm and worked side-by-side with his family picking cotton from sun up to sun down. He attended school in a little one-room school house. He was proud to serve his country in two wars and served his community as a fireman. His children knew him to be a man of honor who kept his word. He was faithful to two wives and cared lovingly and sacrificially for them until their deaths.Even though the man we knew gradually disappeared by inches, ravaged by Alzheimer’s disease, he still remained a true “Southern Gentleman.” He was always cheerful and kind and a joy to be around. He loved playing with all the grandkids and household pets and will be especially missed by them.The Family of Burl Ketchum wishes to express their sincere appreciation and thanks to all the Home Instead staff for their excellent care. Also, they thank Sunrise Assisted Living for all their care and kindness. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Compassion Intl. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008, at French Mortuary 7121 Wyoming Blvd, NE. Burial will follow at 3 p.m. at Guaje Pines Cemetery in Los Alamos. The family has entrusted arrangements to French Mortuary Inc., 7121 Wyoming Blvd. NE – 505-823-9400, www.frenchmortuary.com.