John Williams Burgess, August 11, 2018

John Williams Burgess, 39, a resident of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and formerly of Kennebunkport, Maine, died early Sunday morning, August 11, in an accident a few miles from his Florida home. John was born in Portland’s Maine Medical Center January 20, 1979, son of Kennebunkport residents John Todd Burgess and Linda Ward Burgess. Young John attended local public schools before entering Proctor Academy in Andover, NH, where he played varsity hockey, football and lacrosse. John was an accomplished hockey player, learning to skate at an early age on the frozen ponds around his home in Turbat’s Creek, Kennebunkport, then honing his skating, defensive and scoring skills in the Biddeford Youth Hockey Program and as a member of several traveling teams. As an adult, he was part of the Fort Lauderdale CrossFit community and ran marathons with his dog Puka. While an avid sports fan and athlete, John’s first love was the sea, and its attraction guided his professional course. He earned his boat captain’s license and worked for several years as captain of the scenic lobster cruise boat (Kylie’s Chance) in Kennebunkport and as a boat captain and manager for Water Taxi of Fort Lauderdale. An entrepreneurial businessman, John recently established a successful boat charter business operating out of Florida and Maine. John was also an excellent student. He attended Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts for one year, then after a few years’ hiatus returned to college to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from the University of Southern Maine, graduating Summa Cum Laude and receiving the Faculty Service Award. John’s eyes were as blue as the ocean, his smile as bright as a summer day, his heart as big as the ships he sailed. It’s not surprising that he chose to settle down amongst the palm trees and balmy ocean breezes of Fort Lauderdale. Whether in Florida or in Maine, John made friends easily and kept them for a lifetime. John loved his family, returning to Maine as often as he could to visit them. He is survived by his mother Linda Ward and stepfather Steven Price of Kennebunkport; father John Burgess and stepmother Linda Burgess of Southern Pines, North Carolina; his sister Sara Gott and brother-in-law Jake Gott of Kennebunkport, and his beloved niece and nephew, Zoe and Rowan. John was a great uncle, always ready to throw a football, play a game of Bananagrams or engage in a rowdy pillow fight. Zoe and Rowan adored him. He is also survived by his former companion Laura Kandetzke of Fort Lauderdale and their beloved dog Puka. A Celebration of Life gathering will be held on Saturday, September 8, 2018, beginning at 1 PM at the Gott Family residence on Arundel Road in Kennebunkport, Maine. Light food and refreshments served. Should friends desire, memorial donations may be made to the Animal Welfare Society, P.O. Box 43, West Kennebunk, Maine 04094 in John’s memory.
Published in Sun-Sentinel on Aug. 26, 2018