Nov. 20 1926 – Dec. 19, 2019
Kenneth H. Burden ’53-A, a physician who set foot on every continent, 195 countries, and every county in the United States, was born Nov. 20, 1926, and died Dec. 19, 2019, doing what he loved best—traveling on a cruise from Rome to Dubai.
Dr. Burden’s great-uncle, John Allen Burden, was a founder of Loma Linda University (LLU), and both his parents, HAROLD G. BURDEN ’24 and UNA V. HUDSON ’25, were alumni.
Dr. Burden earned a bachelor’s degree in 1948 from Union College in Nebraska, where he met Clarita Kaufman. They maintained a long-distance relationship for two years while she studied in Colorado and he attended LLU School of Medicine. They married in 1950.
Dr. Burden completed his internship in Maryland and worked for the U.S. Public Health Service on Oregon’s Warm Springs Reservation before answering the call to mission service in Puerto Rico, where they served for 12 years. They welcomed four children into their lives: Gary, Dan, Don, and Debbie.
The family left Puerto Rico in 1967 and eventually settled in Chehalis, Washington, where Dr. Burden joined Steck Memorial Clinic, founded by LESTER G. STECK ’25. He worked there until retiring in 2002. His wife, Clarita, a piano teacher, was named to the Washington State Music Teachers Association Hall of Fame.
The couple served many years at the Chehalis Seventh-day Adventist Church. They taught Sabbath school, sang every Christmas season in Handel’s “Messiah,” and joined Maranatha trips to help build schools and churches around the world.
They loved to travel, and in 2013 achieved their goal of visiting all 3,007 counties in the United States. An avid bird watcher, Dr. Burden continued traveling after the death of his wife in 2013. In 2018, he drove to Loma Linda at the age of 91 to attend his 65th medical school reunion and visited Union College in Nebraska for his 70th reunion. Every year, he traveled 6,000 miles by car to visit his adult children. In 2018, he published his autobiography, “Our Wonderful Life with Itchy Feet.” His smile, dedication, and wonderful sense of humor will be missed.
Dr. Burden is survived by his brother, H.O. Burden; his four adult children; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.