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home : obituaries : obituaries
June 20, 2021

5/28/2021 2:20:00 PM
William Burgin

William Edward Burgin was born on August 9, 1943, to Clifford Burgin, Sr. and Ida Mae Burgin and went to be with the Lord on May 19, 2021. 

His childhood was enriched by growing up with 11 siblings and several family members who lived in the same neighborhood. Bill was a man blessed with many talents and miracles throughout his life. By age 3, he was playing piano for his family church, Madden Temple in Kansas City, Kansas. He continued to play in his teenage years and often found ways to sneak in jazz licks to liven up the hymns. In Argentine High School, Billy composed music for every instrument for the pep band. Bill would often start a drum beat in his classroom that rallied other classrooms to join in on the beat. This in turn connected the name Burgin to the word drums, and Burgin Beat was born. He also became accomplished on the clarinet, organ, oboe, flute, sax, and almost any instrument he became interested in. He received a music scholarship from Emporia State University.

In 1965, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Bill extended his service commitment to six years by enlisting for four additional years, so that he could be assigned to a U.S. Army Band.

In 1969, he came back to Manhattan, Kansas, with his first wife, Eva, where his daughter, Angelika (Geli) was born. They moved to California where he continued to play music with various professional artists while working with PG&E. In 1978, Bill moved to Minnesota for chemical dependency counselor training at Hazelden. There he met his second wife, Mary, of 41 years. They had three children; Cassandra, Jeremy and Marcus.

Bill was both a leader and a role model for the youth of North Branch, Minnesota establishing and directing the youth choir of the United Methodist Church throughout the 80s. Youth from all over the community would come to the church just to sing in his choir.

 He worked at Stillwater State Prison for 30 years beginning as a correctional officer and transitioning to a Chemical Dependency Counselor in the Atlantis Chemical Dependency Treatment Program. During this time, Bill went to Washington, D.C. to contribute to the “Just Say No” program under President Reagan. Later he was promoted to counselor supervisor, and in 1985 he became  director of the program. He rewrote the Atlantis program where his uncanny ability to listen and relate to people led to opportunities for him to establish treatment programs in the prison systems of both Sweden and Poland.

Initially, therapists from both countries came to the U.S. to be trained by Bill in the Atlantis program. In 1991, Bill moved his family to Poland for two years. During this time, he trained Polish psychologists and social workers to become counselors, which led to the establishment of the Polish Atlantis Treatment Program. Bill was recognized by President Lech Wałęnsa for his exceptional humanitarian work for Poland. In 1999, he and his family returned to Poland where he received the Officers Cross, Medal of Virtue from President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, the highest award a citizen can receive.

Bill struggled with heart issues for many years, culminating in a successful heart transplant in 1996. Since that surgery, he lived almost 25  years! This miracle of additional time allowed Bill to raise his children, coach his two sons in high school basketball, and leave a lasting legacy. In his retirement, Bill enjoyed traveling around the world, and working for 10 years at Koehn Auto Sales.

Bill will be remembered most for his love of God, his devotion to his family, his infectious laugh, genuine smile, and his many contributions across the globe and local community.

Preceding him in death are his parents Clifford Burgin, Sr. and Ida Mae (Burgin) Foreman, his siblings: Clifford Burgin, Jr., James Burgin, Orville Burgin, Raymond Burgin, Harold Burgin, Gerald Burgin, his sisters-in-law Earthalene Burgin and JoAnn Burgin, and brother-in-law Frank (Butch) Carter.

Bill is survived by his wife Mary; four children; Geli (Rich), Cassandra, Jeremy (Katherine) and Marcus (Ashley), and seven beautiful grandchildren: Jada, Carter, Kalia, Miles, Julian, Christian and Jordyn; his sisters Melba Carter, Joan Bilberry, Alfreda McKinizie; his brothers  Hollis Burgin, Sr., Maurice (Monica) Burgin, and many friends and family whom he loved and cherished.

In lieu of flowers the family prefers donations to be made in Bill’s honor to:  Abbott Northwestern Hospital Foundation, 2925 Chicago Ave South, Mail Route 10721, Minneapolis, MN 55407, Memo on Check: Heart Transplant Team.  Or donate online at: https://donate.allina.com/abbott-donation-page

Funeral Services will be held 11 a.m. Friday, May 28, 2021 at Woodland Hills Church, 1740 Van Dyke St, St. Paul, MN 55109 with reception to follow at the Burgin Residence.  Visitation 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 27, 2021 at Grandstrand Funeral Home in Lindstrom, and one hour prior to the service at church.  A private interment will take place at a later date.  Condolences may be expressed online at www.grandstrandfh.com.

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