|Bradley Keith Burkgren, 47, loving son, husband and father, went home to be with our Heavenly Father on Tuesday, June 30, 2009 after courageously striving to overcome illness that began with kidney failure in 1982. A successful transplant in 1985 at the University of Iowa Hospital lasted 23.5 years before his return to dialysis in 2008. Brads life focus was his family, wife and 3 daughters, being there for others, a constant perseverance to life, and living his God-given mission with as much grace as possible.
Brad was born December 22, 1961 in Estherville, IA to Robert and Clarice Burkgren of Fenton, IA. The family moved to La Porte City in 1965 and he graduated from La Porte City High School in 1980. In his younger years, he was an accomplished swimmer and golfer. He graduated from Iowa State University in 1985. He married Kathryn Ray in Preston, MN on September 27, 1986 and they moved to the Ithaca, NY area. He worked at Cornell University until health challenges prevented it.
Brad is survived by his wife Kathy, and three daughters, Katrina of George Washington University, Alyssa of Syracuse University, and Mikaela at home in Groton, NY. He is also survived by his parents, Robert and Clarice Burkgren of La Porte City, IA; three sisters, Barb Wiebbecke of Madison, TN and her son, Rob (Michelle) Wiebbecke, Ayanna and Eden of Hendersonville, TN, Brenda (Wayne) Kirk, Michael and Madelyn of Bowling Green, KY and Beth Burkgren of Cedar Falls. Also surviving are his in-laws, Darrel and Lois Ray of Preston, MN; sisters-in-law and their families, Rita (Larry) Mihm, Cheryl (Greg) Dornick, Laurie (Mike) Fritsch , Connie (Terry) Arenson as well as seven nephews and four nieces. He also had a host of friends in the Groton, NY area who gave unwavering support to him and his family through the many years of his illness.
Funeral Services in celebration of Brads life and burial were in Groton, NY.
He loved his family and caring for them, coaching children in a variety of sports, working at the Greek Peak Adaptive Snowsport program, going to Syracuse basketball games, working beside Kathy in her garden, and time spent with extended family and his many friends. Mourning his death will be his dogs and guardian angels, Pongo, Carmela, and his final gift to his girls; a new puppy named Honey.