HAINES CITY – The memories shared online by friends and family paint a picture of a man respected and admired.
The words “leader” and “generous” are contained in nearly every entry in honor of Ronald "Ron" Burchfield, who died April 20.
Born Jan. 9, 1936, in Steubenville, Ohio, Burchfield was husband to Fayette for 37 years, father to Leslee and Stevie, a U.S. Marine, community leader and successful businessman. He was one of five children and grew up playing with the other children in the neighborhood and swimming at the Beatty Park Pool.
His official obituary reads, “As Chief Executive Officer of Engineers of Central Florida he enjoyed serving his community in numerous ways, including as past President of the Northeast Polk Chamber in 2000, formerly known as the ‘Greater Haines City Chamber of Commerce,’ he was awarded Haines City Volunteer of the Year and Haines City Citizen of the Year. He was the recipient of the East Polk Committee of 100 Gold Cup of Industry Award and was a Gold Zone winner of the Polk County School to Work Program.”
He also served as the Chairman of the Board to the Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center (since renamed AdventHealth Heart of Florida).
Back then, his office was located next to the then Haines City Chamber of Commerce.
“He and his staff were always helpful for anything that was needed for the Chamber — both monetary and lots of physical assistance, as well,” said Nell Johnson, a past president and board member of the Northeast Polk Chamber of Commerce. “His business was instrumental in engineering many of our developments in Northeast Polk County.”
Burchfield was known as a leader and was pleased to talk about his time as a Marine.
“He was proud to be a Marine first, last and always,” Johnson said. “He had a special way of getting people to work together on projects.”
Away from the office, he liked to be outdoors with friends and family.
“He was a great turkey hunter and enjoyed hunting with his friend, Gary Carnes,” Johnson said. “He even donated turkey hunts for the silent auctions for some of our pig roasts.”
Burchfield was well-respected and liked around the community and elsewhere.
On the memorial site, a friend wrote, “Every life you touched was better for having known you.”
Johnson agreed and said, “He had many friends in our area and will be remembered fondly as a kind and gentle man.”