Burnham W. "Vern” Cawker passed away August 22, 2023. He was born on July 31, 1949 in Sacaton, AZ. He attended school in Sacaton and Casa Grande Union High School graduating in 1967. He moved to Oakland, California to begin a trade as a machinist. He joined the Marine Corps. in 1968. After his discharge from the Marine Corps, he began his employment with Southern Pacific Railroad in Oakland, California. His shop was relocated to Denver, Colorado in 1990. During his time with the railroad, he was active in the International Association of Machinists union. He worked for the railroad for 41 years, retiring in 2009.
Burnham led an active and adventurous life. He lived his life to the fullest, taking every turn in stride. Although he lived off the Gila River Indian Community for most of his life, he made frequent visits home to family and friends. He made sure his children knew his family and all relatives.
He was an avid bicyclist and participated in long-distance biking. His favorite bicycle event was Ride the Rockies tour which took him through several cities in the Colorado mountain ranges.
He also participated in countless foot races that included half-marathons, 10k and 5k races in his later years. He loved to hike the mountains of Colorado and Arizona. He remained active until the very end.
He was a Red Cross volunteer in Arizona while living in Flagstaff. He was dispatched with a team to help with relief for the 2018 Hurricane Florence in North Carolina. He received recognition for his work with Red Cross in 2019. He also volunteered at various food banks in the local area. He was also trained and certified as a member of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) which he participated in for many years.
He was very proud of his family, particularly the children and grandchildren. His life influenced all in his family, young and old.
He is survived by three children, Kevin W. Cawker, Tami Osorio and Lohenia Roeschlaub. He has 11 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren and one sister, Belinda Nelson. His mother, Mabel Nelson, father William Nelson and brother Reginald Nelson preceded him in death.