April 18, 1938 – October 25, 2020
One of the Finest ….
Bruce Alastair Burnett was born at home on top of the Customs building in Hyder, BC on the Alaskan border to parents James Burnett from Scotland and Maria Ekstrom from Sweden. He grew up in Stewart, BC and lived there for most of his life.
He loved the valley and never liked to leave it for long.
Bruce managed a logging camp in the Portland Canal while a teenager and worked for the Alaska State Highway department for many seasons. During this time, Bruce and his wife Sharon lived in Prince Rupert, Hyder, Alaska and Stewart, BC, crossing paths often with their good friends John & Eleanor Kustas.
In Hyder, their friends Martha & Gary Benedict were starting their family at the same time, and Gary and Bruce went into business together, building a house in Hyder, as well as the Sealaska Inn.
In the late 50’s, Bruce worked for Peter Kiewit Sons’ Co. and A.C. McEachern Ltd. He was gifted mechanically and was never without a job. He also loved to fix cars, owning and selling eleven of them in two years in the early 60’s.
At the age of 27, Bruce started his own company, Stewart Northern Materials, with his partner Walter Moa. They offered aggregates, construction, equipment and a tire shop, working on the elementary and secondary schools in Stewart, the dock between Stewart and Hyder, Alaska; the Nass River and Bell-Irving bridges and many other road-building and construction projects.
From 1980-84, he worked for Canada Wide Mines, owned by Esso Resources, running the maintenance shop in Stewart. When that mine operation closed, he, Sharon and Chris joined Tino & Dorothy Isola in Revelstoke from 1984-88, where Bruce was the mechanical superintendent for Manning-Kumagai’s work on the Mount Macdonald/Rogers Pass Tunnel Project.
He made many modifications to existing mining equipment, enabling his team to reach the centre of the tunnel first, resulting in additional contracts for the team.
When the Revelstoke tunnel project was completed, Bruce and Sharon returned to Stewart. Bruce looked after the shop for Bobby & Mary Jane McKay at Granmac. He then worked as mechanical foreman for All West Trading with Rick Kearns until his retirement at 70.
Bruce and Sharon hosted many people at their home over the years, and at their cabins at Meziadin Lake, where the family liked to spend many weekends. Many local people will remember spending great times with the family, enjoying Sharon and Bruce’s wonderful hospitality.
Bruce was a gentleman and always an optimist, looking at the world through rose-coloured glasses. He was humble, private and never had anything bad to say about others. When asked about the character of almost any individual, he would always reply with “One of the Finest” or “Second to None”. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
… Second to None
Bruce was predeceased by his parents, brothers Jimmy and Raymond, as well as his wife, Sharon, son David and grandson Ben.
He leaves behind:
Daughter Cindy (Rick), granddaughter Victoria in Stewart, grandson Ben’s widow Jessica and great-grandchildren Matthew and Sarah in Smithers, BC; grandson Brody (Shaylene) and great-grandchildren Caden, Cohen, Reed and Thatcher; in Kelowna, BC
Daughter Tamara (Frank), grandson Teagan and granddaughter Shea in West Vancouver, BC
Son David’s widow Natalie, grandson Michael and granddaughters Chelsea and Bethany in Terrace, BC, grandson Evan in Kelowna, BC
Son Jason (Dawn), grandson Brandon and granddaughter Kaitlyn of Prince Rupert, BC
Son Christopher of Meziadin Lake and Stewart, BC
Brother Cliff Davidson (Sherrell) and family of Kelowna, BC
Many cousins in the Prince Rupert area, Scotland and Sweden