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Harry's Story

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Harry Burtwell, of Traverse City, passed from this world at 87 years of age on November 16, 2017. Survived by his high school sweetheart and wife of 67 years, Marilyn Burtwell (McClure), daughter, Heather Norconk and her husband, Michael, five grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Harry served in the Air Force National Guard before a successful career as a draftsman in Birmingham, MI.
On July 4th, 1971 following a calling for country life Harry and Marilyn moved with three children, three dogs and two cats (Gomer and Fufu) to Traverse City where they found the farm they'd always dreamed of and turned a love of animals into a successful business boarding cats and dogs. Harry's legacy can be seen everyday at Tulamar Kennel, the boarding facility whose foundation he laid one block at a time and where he worked for over 40 years with Marilyn and their daughter Heather. Of all the animal companions Harry enjoyed through his life, none were more beloved than his Doberman's Righi and Tula. In his later years, his favorite pastimes were sitting on the porch enjoying the view with his cat Tippy or walking the property (also accompanied by Tippy). The surrounding farm is home to over 50 varieties of trees that Harry and Marilyn planted over the years, the walnut grove and orchards a particular point of pride. Perhaps the most magnificent example of Harry's arborist passion is the River's Purple Beech in the front yard. His grandchildren grew up in it's broad shade and can attest to countless happy memories made there, from picnics to pony rides. Harry will always be remembered as the most generous and wonderful of grandfathers whose laughing, loving affection was abundant in every moment he spent with his family.
No one will miss him more than his wife and best friend, Marilyn. She and his family ask that in lieu of flowers, should you find a moment please plant a tree and may you find as much happiness in its reach as Harry found in a lifetime of loving the land and the people on it.
Published on December 1, 2017
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