Community mourns loss of local youth

Jeffrey Allen Burkett
Jeffrey Allen Burkett

Clarkston News Editor
A community newspaper has a responsibility to the community it serves. The Clarkston News failed in that responsibility in last week’s paper, placing the tragic accident suffered by a Sashabaw Middle School student on the Public Safety page.
In that, we showed an appalling lack of sensitivity in a case regarding a young boy and his family in the most heartrending of circumstances, and we apologize.
It is with that we sadly report the loss of Jeffrey Allen Burkett of Clarkston, who passed away Feb. 1, 2017, at age 12.
He was the loving son of David and Wendy Burkett; beloved brother of Jacob Burkett and Alex (Ashley) Burkett; grandson of Ken Sr. and Jan LaVictoire and Gwayne and the late Linda Burkett; uncle of Sarah, Abigail, Jackson and Harper; nephew of Ken (Alyssa) LaVictoire Jr., Scott Burkett and Terry (Lucie) Burkett; cousin of Madeline, Shelby and Sabra.
Jeffrey was a sixth grade student at Sashabaw Middle School. He was involved in many sports, including soccer for the Michigan Impact Soccer Club.
Along with being a talented soccer player, Jeffrey also played baseball and tennis. He was also experienced in archery and was in training to be a certified scuba diver.
Being the determined person he was, Jeffrey also dominated the area of music. As a student, he studied both piano and the trumpet.
While becoming a skilled pianist, Jeffrey achieved many musical awards for his growing love of music.
Jeffrey was involved with the school’s drama club and enjoyed participating in talent shows and theatre workshops. At home, he became highly skilled on the scroll saw and enjoyed woodworking.
He spread that joy by giving his wood pieces as gifts. He loved the outdoors and riding his bike. From exploring the woods to digging in the dirt, he was always designing, creating, building and turning his imagination into reality. Jeffrey never met a stranger and was a friend to everyone.
Sashabaw Middle School provided a support team of counselors and social workers for students and staff members.
“For those of you who knew Jeffrey, we ask that you remember and celebrate his youthful spirit,” said Liz Walker, principal of Sashabaw Middle School. “For those of you who did not know Jeffrey, we ask that you respect our sadness and support us with your understanding. It is very difficult for all of us to face the death of a young person.”
In lieu of flower memorials, the family asked donations be made to the Clarkston Community Schools Instrumental Music Program or The Ike & Ella Foundation, a charity to help offset the costs of funerals for children.
Arrangements entrusted to the Lewis E. Wint and Son Funeral Home, Clarkston. For online guestbook, please go to

4 Responses to "Community mourns loss of local youth"

  1. Mike Fetzer   February 9, 2017 at 4:03 am

    Jeffrey seems like the kind of guy who wouldn’t have given a thought to what page an article appeared; he would have been too busy doing things, accomplishing things, experiencing things, touching and impacting people. It’s not hard to see why his parents would be so affected by what seems his early death–a clearly special son taken what seems much too soon. But I hope they will find comfort, peace and even joy in memories of him, knowing they produced and nurtured such a special guy so loved and admired by so many, a guy who even in death inspires others to be more. I suspect many 70 and 80 year olds would envy the life and accomplishments of Jeffrey Burkett, whose relatively short life may have been the perfect duration in the special Plan intended for him…

  2. Tom Stone   February 20, 2017 at 11:38 am

    I applaud the Clarkston News for its acceptance of responsibility for an error and its sincere effort to fulfill its responsibility.

    Tom Stone

  3. Brandon S.   January 29, 2018 at 10:19 am

    Mike Fetzer, I agreed with everything you said until you spouted some fairytale which implied a powerful being had planned a child’s suicide. You people make me sick. Religious lemmings, making no sense. Keep it to yourself and out of the community please.

    I am deeply saddened by this story as a father of a very talented young boy. My heart goes out to this family, and hope they find solace in knowing that life is in fact hard and they did their best despite the natural urge to be self critical. I’m so so sorry for your loss 🙁

  4. george a.   July 26, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    Where does it say he committed suicide?


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