Cover photo for Keith Allen Burckhardt's Obituary
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1952 Keith 2023

Keith Allen Burckhardt

May 5, 1952 — April 24, 2023

Russell, MN


Keith Burckhardt of Russell, Minnesota, died peacefully under the care of his wife on Monday, April 24, 2023, at his home just 11 days shy of his 71st birthday. A Celebration of Life will begin at 5:00 p.m. Friday, May 5, 2023, at the Russell Community Center (200 Front St., Russell, MN 56169). Please join the family as they celebrate Keith’s life on his birthday. A private family interment will be held earlier in the day at the Russell Cemetery.

Keith Allen Burckhardt was born on May 5, 1952, in Tyler, Minnesota. He was the son of Alvin and Adeline (Morgan) Burckhardt. Keith grew up in Russell and graduated with the Bulldog class of 1970. He went on to Junior College in Worthington, Minnesota to play football and was an All-American defensive end for the nationally ranked WSJC Bluejays.
On May 15, 1976, Keith was united in marriage to Diane Neyens. They spent nearly 47 years together. The couple made their home just outside of Russell where together, they raised three children: Jon, Chadd, and Reed. He was the epitome of a family man. One whose life was centered around providing and bettering his family.

In 1970, Keith began his 42-year career with Burlington Northern Railroad. The first 10 years, working as a track inspector and laborer for his father. Upon Alvin’s retirement in 1979, he assumed his role of subdivision section foreman. Maintaining 132 miles of track and leading track gangs from Pipestone to Willmar until his own retirement from BNSF Railway in 2012. A year into retirement, Keith was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Keith valued a sense of community, camaraderie, and competition. Between 1979 to 2000, he coached football and basketball in the Russell-Tyler-Ruthton school districts and was proud to be part of the Russell High School 1979 State 9-Man Championship football team. He was a gifted and intuitive coach who was firm, yet fun. He took pride in mentoring young athletes to success, including his sons, and valued the lifelong relationships built on the field and the court. 

He donated his time to many organizations and endeavors. He was a high school and youth basketball official, a coach in RTR’s Junior Hoopsters youth basketball program, a member of the Minnesota Coaches Association, a charter member of the Russell Lions Club, served as a volunteer on the Russell Fire Dept., and was a founding member of the Shades of the Past Car Club. Upon his diagnosis, he became a member of Rock Steady Boxing, whose mission is to provide fellowship and rehab for those afflicted with Parkinson’s disease.

He was a skilled welder and craftsman, enjoyed ice fishing, dirt track racing, building street rod cars, collecting memorabilia, and attending games and concerts. Above all else, he enjoyed helping family, friends, and neighbors. And will be forever remembered for his generosity, quick wit, charisma and fun loving mischief. 
He is survived by his wife, Diane Burckhardt of Russell; 3 sons, Jon (and Jeni) Burckhardt of Rochester, Chadd (and Melissa) Burckhardt of Minneapolis, Reed Burckhardt (and fiancée, Julia Farber) of Denver, CO; siblings, Bruce (and Deb) Burckhardt of Brookings, SD, Mary Jo (and Doug) Zimmer of Cottonwood; nieces, nephews, other relatives, and many friends. Keith is preceded in death by his parents, Alvin and Adeline Burckhardt, and his sister, Julie Burckhardt.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations in Keith’s name be sent to the RTR Booster Club, 111 County Rd 8, Tyler, MN 56178 or you can Venmo donations to @KeithBurckhardt-Memorial


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