On July 26, 2019, John threw a saddle on Big Enough, climbed aboard and rode off into the light on that trail that we all must travel at some point. He was 90 years young. The eldest son of Jack and Sophie Burden, he was born on Jan. 14, 1929. He and his sister Sophie B. Echeverria and brother Dana grew up on the Remuda Ranch which his parents had started in 1926. He graduated from Wickenburg High School, as one of the few four-year lettermen in sports, being the team manager for the whole school sports program. It was very small then. He then went on to graduate from the Denver University of hotel and bar management. After that he returned home to Wickenburg to help run the ranch with his mother following the early death of his father.
In the early 1960s he moved with his young family to Yosemite National Park in California where he was assistant manager of Camp Curry, moving on to the Yosemite Lodge, a summer in the high camps around Tuolumne Meadows, winding up running the El Portal Motor Inn. A wonderful eight years of adventure was had by all. After about a six month stay in Timber Cove on the coast of California, they moved to Monument Valley on the Utah/Arizona border for nine years, where they were traders to the Navajo and ran Goulding’s Lodge and Trading Post. Think of the original Stagecoach movie with John Wayne, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Cheyenne Autumn; that backdrop was the family’s front view. An amazing time in the 1970s.
He then returned to Wickenburg where with his brother Dana, started up Adventure Trails of the West. They provided week-long horseback rides into the Bradshaw Mountains of Arizona, rides along the Mogollon rim area around Show Low, rides to Monument Valley, and even a few in the Snowy River Mountains of Australia.
John was a charter member of the Wickenburg Elk’s Lodge as well as a member of the Rotary Club (which his Dad Jack helped start as the Round Up Club), a member of the Masonic Lodge (which his grandfather helped organize) the Desert Caballeros Trail Ride (again his dad’s doing) and was past president of the Arizona Hotel and Motel Association. He was also on the board of directors for the Rincon Rural Fire District (which has become the Wickenburg Fire District) and helped to provide the Wickenburg Fire Department with a wonderful new toy to play with. You should go see it sometime. It was a very large pumper truck which has morphed into an amazing Fire Command Unit and is truly an astounding work of art.
John went on to become the Camp Boss for the Remuda Camp of the DC Ride. Putting together an ingenious hot water shower rig, he was able to provide hot showers for the Remuda Camp men during the DC rides, the ladies of the Las Damas Ride, the ladies of the Happy Hoofers Ride out of California, and the Caballos Del Sol Trail Ride. He also helped out on the many endurance rides with showers and helped to man the vet check stops too. A very full life indeed.
He is survived by his former wife, Maureen Beverlin and youngest daughter Lynn Johnston of Baker City, Ore.; middle daughter Mary Ferguson (Angus and stepdaughter Sheena) of Dingwall, Scotland; and eldest daughter Barbara Burden of Sun City. There are also a whole bunch of nieces, nephews and a couple of cousins, too numerous to name.
As it is too hot at this time for a proper send off, the family is planning a celebration for the fall/early winter to remember this remarkable man. Stay tuned. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the charity of your choice or to John’s favorite charities-The Friends of Music, the Cops Who Care and the Fire Department.
John’s family offers special thanks to Laura Remcheck and her staff at Acacia Heights Assisted Living in Peoria, for their loving care of John. Profound thanks go also to Nyree Povee and her family and to Tina Gallagher for all the love, help and support they gave to John and Barbara who was his primary caregiver. Bless you all. Our thanks also go to Savior Hospice who were there for John for his last days.
Friends may offer online condolences at www.wickenburgfuneralhome.com
Arrangements are under the direction of Wickenburg Funeral Home & Crematory.