Elmer Burks, 98, died peacefully March 17, 2018. He was the tenth of eleven children born
to Arlie and Minnie (Milligan) Burks of Stantonville, Tennessee. After graduating from Michie
High School, he went to work for Procter and Gamble Company making 155mm shells. World
War II came along and he soon found himself leaving Tennessee for basic training at Camp
Grant, Illinois. Having been designated as a medic, he was stationed for a year at Fort Ord
Station Hospital where he worked with patient records. Afterward, he was transferred to
Oakland Hospital where he worked in the Registrar’s Office. When the war ended, he
remained in Oakland working at the hospital. He liked to say, “I kept the same job. All I did
was change my clothes. I went from a uniform to a suit and tie.”
Elmer met and married his wife Catherine (Vanderweff) in Oakland and then was soon
transferred to the VA Hospital in Reno, NV where he was Chief of Medical Administration. He
worked for the Veterans Administration for 30 years.
He loved horses. He became active in numerous horse organizations: Nevada State Rangers,
Washoe Horseman’s Association, Nevada State Horseman’s Association, Nevada Reined Cow
and Cutting Horse Association, Nevada Cutting Horse Association, the Reno Rodeo
Association, the American Quarter Horse Association and Pacific Coast Cutting Horse
Association. He was a founding member of the Nevada Horseman’s Hall of Fame and became
and inductee in 1993.
He was a 70-year member of the Masons and a member of Disabled American Veterans.
Having grown up on a cotton farm in Tennessee, he never lost his love of gardening. His last
crop of garlic was planted last fall and in now pushing its way up through the soil.
He is survived by his wife, Catherine (Van) Burks, daughter Kathy Burks, son Bill Burks and
daughter-in-law Annette Burks.
A private interment will be held at the Masonic Memorial Mausoleum.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Tamarack Casino banquet room on March 31st from
12 to 2 p.m.
Memorial donations may be made to: Shriners Hospitals for Children, Attn: Office of
Development, 2900 N. Rocky Point Dr., Tampa, FL 33607 or https://