Cover photo for Gary Burbank, Sr.'s Obituary
1954 Gary 2022

Gary Burbank, Sr.

January 8, 1954 — October 9, 2022

formerly of Battle Creek, Michigan

Gary Duane Burbank, Sr. age 68 years of Niles, Michigan and formerly of Battle Creek, Michigan died unexpectedly but peacefully at 2:55 p.m. on Sunday, October 9, 2022 at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Indiana with his family at his bedside.

He was born on January 8, 1954 in Battle Creek to Russell and Elizabeth (Fisher) Burbank and attended Battle Creek schools.  He worked in asphalt road construction all of his life, learning how to operate every piece of equipment on the jobsite, and eventually managing projects.  While his vocation took him to short residences in other states, he called Battle Creek home until 2017, when he moved to Niles.

Gary really liked fast cars, building several hot rod street machines, and building high-performance engines for others.  As a younger man he competed in area NHRA Drag Racing events, and continued to attend races throughout the region, including Michigan International Speedway.

While his job involved making roads where none had existed, he also enjoyed making beauty where none had existed, using landscaping skills to turn backyards into personal paradises.  The backyard in Niles gained a decorative pond and a trellised arch covered by the woody twining vines and beautiful blooms of the wisteria.

It was under that arch, on January 28, 2017 that Gary exchanged wedding vows and rings with Sherry A. (Zehrung) Hudson, who survives.  Also surviving are his children, Misty Burbank of Battle Creek, Gary (& Tara) Burbank, Jr. of Niles, Brandon (& Amanda) Sargent of Tullahoma, Tennessee, William (& Madison Morgan) Sargent of Mishawaka, Indiana, and Zander Burbank of Tullahoma; several grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

He was sadly preceded in death by a daughter Elaina Burbank in 2021; by his parents, and by all eight of his brothers and sisters,  making him the last of a dying breed.

Sherry will host a Celebration of the Life of Gary Burbank, Sr. in their beautiful backyard at a later date, to be announced on this site.  Arrangements were completed at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles.  Online condolences may be left at:

Whether paving roads, or fabricating cars, or landscaping, Gary became a master of each craft that he chose to practice.  In 1970, Joni Mitchel famously sang the little 2 minute song “Yellow Taxi” which began with “They paved paradise and put-up a parking lot”.  Gary Burbank, Sr. was the remedy for that complaint, as he paved new roads to help us get where we need to go, and made cars to go fast on that new pavement, but he also created landscaped paradises to give us a reason to go there.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gary Burbank, Sr., please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

Halbritter Wickens Funeral Services

Federal Forest Highway 13, Wetmore, MI 49895

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