Glen & Jewell Burkholder were
married on November 17, 1944
Although Glen Lester Burkholder was born in the midst of fertile farmland
in Minnesota, the state with 10,000 lakes (September 5, 1920), the allure of
endless rolling waves in faraway seas always resonated with his soul.
At the end of WWII, the ripples of love from his lifelong first mate, Jewell Avis
Leigh, reached out to surround him lovingly at the onset of their life-long
partnership and rock-solid, Christian marriage that began in San Francisco,
California at the Glade Memorial on November 17, 1944.
Jewell always said that she chased Glen to the Pacific Ocean and since he
couldn't swim and wasn't able to get any further away, she finally caught
him, and they got married. So began their joint adventurous voyage in the
sea of married life - 69 years ago...
Glen served in the Merchant Marines during World War II in the Pacific, and
also the Atlantic, from South America to the Philippines and Japan. It was
during this time that he lost the tips of some of his fingers in a shipboard
accident but that minor glitch never slowed him down.
When the newlyweds came back to Minnesota after the war, Glen began
working at the power plant in Sherburn and Jewell worked sporadically at
various local companies, including the Munsingwear factory.
After a few years of settling back into civilian life, their solo journey together
had ended and their family would soon expand. Glen and Jewell were
blessed with the arrival of Bob, the first of their four children. Their kids and
grandkids were always at the center of their lives.
Robert Lester was their firstborn, then two years later Beverly Avis arrived.
William Leigh and James Frank were born quite a few years after Bob and
Bev. As many families did in those days, they would all pile in the car for
countless faraway vacations and meandering road trips to every tourist
destination in the USA.
After moving to Rochelle in 1962, Glen worked as the Power Plant Engineer
for Rochelle Municipal Utilities until 1982, when he retired. In that span of
twenty years, the family's cozy home on 11th Street was the place for
fellowship, food and fond family memories.
Their favorite respite from the hustle and bustle of Rochelle city life was the
casual, rustic atmosphere of Woodhaven Lakes in Sublette, Illinois. It was
truly a relaxing haven that combined peaceful, idyllic surroundings with
towering trees that shared their space with numerous deer, birds and many
The ever-present aroma of burning wood permeated the air. Smoke always
rose from the fire pit in the back yard, which made it the favorite place to
gather for young and old alike. Down the hill from the back yard, hidden by
the trees, was a creek that led to the lake, and along the way a canoe was
hidden in the brush.
Starting in 1972 with a trip to Germany, Glen and Jewell embarked on many
other far-ranging, worldwide trips, cruises and vacations, traveling all over
Europe and also up to Alaska and the Caribbean.
While awaiting the tickets for the next trip, Glen would be outside tending
his fruit tree orchard in the back yard, in the house tending the
grandchildren who went in one door and out the other, and tending his faith
with prayer, Bible reading and many secret good deeds.
When Glen and Jewell retired to Florida a few years ago, they chose a
lovely home on one of the many canals with huge, towering eucalyptus
trees bordering the back, and soaring palm trees in front making it truly look
like the "Florida house on the water" complete with an alligator sunning
himself on the banks of the water.
Glen and Jewell enjoyed their last years sitting on the front porch in the
warm Florida sun, watching the people and the cars go by – they’d finally
made it to Easy Street!
Glen was a God-fearing, Christian man with a quiet faith that was steadfast
and constant. He led by example rather than boast or brawn and never had
an enemy on the face of the earth.
Jewell was an equally God-fearing, Christian woman with not as quiet a faith
as Glen's, but just as steadfast and constant. She staunchly defended her
views and fiercely guarded her domain like a mother lioness.
They both inspired love, devotion and loyalty in their family and friends,
which is quite a legacy to leave your loved ones, and for that gift, we will
always be truly grateful and ever thankful for their influence.
They ended every telephone conversation with, "Love you." And they were
truly loved in return and will always be remembered fondly by their far-flung
family and many old and dear friends.
After Glen passed away, Jewell always said that although she was able to
cope as time went on, she seemed to miss him more and more. At first, she
was completely devastated by her loss and the grief was completely
Grandma stayed with us, along with Ted and Vada, for a week after the
funeral while we wrote thank you cards and tried in vain to comfort her.
Three things stand out in my memory of that time almost nine years ago.
Grandpa's spirit came to visit me. Andrew and Jarrett were still alive. And
we had to celebrate her birthday (January 24, 1926), in spite of the fact that
she didn't care and didn't want to do anything.
She did laugh when I told her while I was getting the birthday cake at the
Jewel grocery store, I remarked, "this is a cake from Jewel to Jewell."
As the years went by and she had to confront various medical problems
along with traveling alone, she always knew she had the support and love
of her family. Right away, she joined a grief group and was able to
commiserate with other widows who lived nearby.
Of course, she was comforted by her faith and wonderfully supportive group
of church friends. We finally knew Grandma was doing better when she
joined the Red Hat Club. Other than the fact that she missed Grandpa
tremendously, she was able to bloom where she was planted.
We never know for sure when we're going to die, and we certainly didn't
anticipate her passing but there's a few things we can be happy about as
we remember them - she finally got her BIG wedding in 1994. And Jewell
was reunited with her beloved Glen on June 27, 2005.
God bless them. God bless all our other dear loved ones who are gone but
not forgotten. Forever in our hearts. ~djb
Jewell Avis Leigh and Glen Lester Burkholder before
their wedding on November 17, 1944
Front: Glen, Jim, Bill, Jewell Back: Bob and Bev
The Burkholder family in Rochelle (circa 1965)
Jarrett and Grandpa watching the fire at Woodhaven
Andrew and Grandma at Karen & Derek's Wedding
Jewell & Glen Burkholder - 50th Wedding Anniversary
Above: On Easy Street
Below: Andrew, Bob, Grandma, Jarrett & Grandpa.
(Donna is taking the photo)
What began as a day with so much excitement and anticipation – a trip to
the bridal store with her granddaughter - ended with a sudden and tragic
automobile accident that claimed Jewell Burkholder’s life in rural Lee
County. She now joins her beloved husband, Glen who passed away in
Jewell Avis (Leigh) Burkholder was the second of three children born to
Frank and Eva (Gulso) Leigh on January 24, 1926 in Akely, Minnesota. As
a child during the Depression, she learned the value of hard work,
supported by a loving family and always put her trust in the Lord. Her older
brother Dale was very special to her, however, Vada was not only her sister,
but her lifelong best friend and confidante.
When Jewell married Glen on November 17, 1944, at the Glade Memorial in
San Francisco, CA, little did they know at the time, that they would be
together for 57 years in a rock-solid, Christian marriage and partnership.
One of the highlights of her life was the “real wedding” that she always
dreamed of on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary at the First
Baptist Church in Rochelle.
A few years after they married, Bob was born, then Bev. After quite a few
more years, Bill and Jim were born. Jewell and Glen doted on their children
and raised them in a loving and nurturing Christian home. They took their
children to church every week and taught them by example. When the
grandchildren and great-grandchildren were born, they were loved as well
by Grandma. Being surrounded by her family was one of the greatest joys
of her life.
After enduring the cold winters of Minnesota and Illinois for most of their
lives, she and Glen decided to retire to Port Charlotte, Florida in 1990,
where they would spend their remaining years in the warmth of the sunshine
state on Easy Street. Now, she’s back with Glen where together they can
praise the Lord for eternity.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Glen Burkholder, her
parents, Frank and Eva Leigh, her brother, Dale Leigh, and her two
grandsons, Andrew and Jarrett Burkholder.
She is survived by three sons, Robert (Donna) Burkholder of Elburn, IL;
William (Susan) Burkholder of Elwood, IL; James (Joan) Burkholder of
Loganville, GA; and one daughter, Beverly Paul, Port Charlotte, FL; her
sister Vada (Ted) Leigh of Port Charlotte, FL; 13 grandchildren (Tim, Dan,
Karen, Kristina, Bryan, Brent, Luke, Bennett, Brooke, Kimberly, Bruce and
Kenneth); and 5 great-grandchildren (Kylie, Lexus, Adelyn, Jessica, Bryar
Services will be held on Friday, July 1, 2005 at 1:00 A.M. at Unger-Horner
Funeral Home, 400 N. 6th St., Rochelle. Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 P.
M. on Thursday, June 30th at Unger-Horner Funeral Home.
Burial will be in Washington Grove Cemetery.
Jewell Avis Burkholder June 23, 2005
Frank and Eva (Gulso) Leigh with Vada, Jewell and baby Dale
Eva and Frank Leigh with Vada, Dale and Jewell
JEWELL AVIS (LEIGH) BURKHOLDER
Born January 24, 1926 in Akely, Minnesota
Died June 27, 2005 in Amboy, Illinois