Burk Burnett, Jr.

Portrait of Burk Burnett Jr.

In 1916, Mary suffered another tragedy when her only child, Samuel "Burk" Burnett, Jr. died at the age of 21.  The cause of death listed on his death certificate was sarcoma mediastinum, a rare cancer.  

According to newspaper reports, Burk Jr. was sick for about seven weeks and received treatment at All Saints Hospital.  He was later moved to the family home on Summit Avenue, where physicians continued to monitor his condition.  Sparing no expense, his father called in physicians from Temple, Galveston, and even Chicago to treat his son.  But the cancer was too advanced, and Burk, Jr. died on June 7, 1916.

Burk Jr.'s funeral took place at his father's home and was officiated by Reverend L. D. Anderson, the pastor of the First Christian Church, a Disciples of Christ congregation.  It is not known if the Burnetts were members of the congregation or attended services there.  According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, on June 9, 1916, Mary donated the flowers from her son's funeral to patients at local hospitals.  She returned to Weatherford after his death.

Castle Heights Military Academy

Postcard of Burk, Jr.'s school, Castle Heights Military Academy, in Lebanon, Tennessee.  (University of Tennesee Libraries Digital Collections)

Burk, Jr. was beloved by both his parents.  He attended Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, Tennessee.  After completing his education, he returned to Fort Worth to work in his father's ranching business.  In 1916, he was a popular and busy young man on the Fort Worth social scene.  He was a member of the "Watch Yourself Step Club," a dancing social club, the "Tri Gamma Dance Club," and the "Steeple Chase Club," another group that organized social events for "visiting princesses," the young ladies of the families that came to Fort Worth for horse shows.  Burk, Jr. was also the director of the Fort Worth Automobile Club.  His active young life was cut short, Mary and Burk felt his loss deeply.

Grand Champions of National Feeders and Breeders Show, 1916

Burk Burnett (center) with his sons Thomas (left) and Burk, Jr. (right), 1916

Burk Burnett Jr.'s funeral notice

Burk Burnett, Jr.'s funeral notice appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 7, 1916

Burk Burnett, Jr.