Cover photo for Kermit Nelson Burgess's Obituary
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Kermit Nelson Burgess

February 16, 1939 — September 16, 2022

Southern Pines

Kermit Nelson Burgess

Kermit Nelson Burgess, 83, of Southern Pines passed away peacefully on September 16th, 2022.

Mr. Burgess was born February 16, 1939, in Norwood, North Carolina to Irenus and Elizabeth Lambert Burgess. He was raised in Robbins, North Carolina.

Mr. Burgess joined the United States Army and became a paratrooper with the 11th Airborne Division Angels. He saw battle in Beirut, Lebanon, and upon his discharge in 1963, he swore to never jump out of a perfectly operable airplane ever again.  As a civilian, Kermit completed his carpentry apprenticeship and began a long career in construction.

With Capeletti Brothers,  a major highway and bridge contractor in Miami, Florida, he mastered the intricacies of working with concrete and took pride in his Golden Glades Interchange project. Those skills would take Kermit to Vietnam where he oversaw the construction of roads and airports for the RMK-BRJ consortium and the United States Navy.  In 1972, he returned to North Carolina and joined Myrick Construction in Biscoe, managing projects throughout the Carolinas. He found particular gratification in his role building the new North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, opening in 1980.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy Burgess; children, Debra Visco and husband, Louis, Keith Burgess and wife, Sandra, Kevin Burgess and wife, Melanie, and Denise Gutschmit and husband, Michael, grandchildren, Brooke Burgess, Brett Burgess, Matthew Gutschmit, Lillian Gutschmit, and Alan Gutschmit; sister, Charity Comer; and many special nieces, nephews and friends.

In addition to his parents, Kermit was preceded in death by his brothers, Bethel, Kenneth, Kurby and, Kelly Burgess; sisters, Juril Parker, Fauline McDonald, Rebecca "Dolly" Burgess, Margie Davis, Martha Nichols, and Malinda Hussey.

In honor of Kermit, a celebration of life and family will be held later this fall. Memorials in his memory are welcomed by the North Carolina Zoo Society, Attn: Lisa Smith, 4401 Zoo Parkway, Asheboro, North Carolina, 27205.

Phillips Funeral Home in Star is assisting the family (


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