John Burgess of Orleans died at Cape Cod Hospital on Jan. 8, 2021 following a stroke. He was 74 years old.
A newspaper writer and editor in Boston for more than 30 years, he was also a loving father, brother, companion, and friend. Friends and family described him as a brilliant, funny, and kind man — a true gentleman — who made their lives, and their writing, better.
He was born in Baltimore and raised in Florida by his parents, Jack and Pola (Carson) Burgess. John and his four younger brothers shared a love of summers at their granny’s house in North Carolina.
After college, John settled in Boston, where he worked as a bartender and cook at the Tam O’Shanter in Brookline. He helped turn the Tam into a spot known for live music and good food. He met his future wife, Laurie Losen, whom he married in 1986.
John eventually transitioned to journalism, as a freelancer and then managing editor at the Boston Phoenix. From 1989 to 2018, he was a copy editor for the Boston Globe. Colleagues remember his intelligence and warmth, his wry wit, and his penchant for workday naps and fashionable socks.
John and Laurie raised their daughters, Anna and Molly, in Needham, and remained friends and co-parents after their divorce. John was proud of his daughters and often told them he loved them.
John shared his last 11 years with Barbara Ravage, formerly of Wellfleet and a longtime house manager at the Harbor Stage Company. They enjoyed gardening and cooking, yoga, following political news, and admiring the ospreys that nested nearby.
He loved bluegrass music, Southern food, and good beer and whiskey. His home was filled with handmade artwork by friends and family. He had great style and an impressive hat collection.
John is survived by his daughters, Anna Burgess of Arlington and Molly Burgess of New York City, and by his life companion, Barbara Ravage of Orleans. He also leaves his brothers, Steve Burgess and wife Susan of Tallahassee, Fla.; David Burgess and wife Ann of Tallahassee, and their children, Taylor and Sarah; Bill Burgess and wife Maggie May of Monticello, Fla.; and Tim Burgess and wife Patty of Canton, N.C., and their children Hannah and Ben, and Ben’s wife Tabitha; and many friends.
Donations in his memory may be made to the Equal Justice Initiative, Smile Train, the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and the Lobular Breast Cancer Alliance.
For a full version of his obituary and information about services, visit dignitymemorial.com.