John Burgess passed away

John Burgess passed away painlessly on Friday, December 2nd, in his
home town of Nelson, New Zealand. John was 91.

John joined Orchid in 1996 and quickly become one of the more popular
members, a friend and mentor to many of us. John really enjoyed his
jewelry work and his conversations with fellow Orchid members.

Orchid has lost a senior member and an amazing human being. John’s
postings would live in the archives and serve as a memorial for his

The family will be running a continuous slide show of his jewelry at
his funeral.

If you wish to send condolences to John’s family, please email


John Burgess was the most delightful correspondent. His humor and
wisdom were enchanting. I once playfully proposed to him online and
his response was typical Burgess. He said that the woman who’s been
sitting opposite him at breakfast for countless decades would not
welcome the proposal.

I’ll miss him.

Those of you who have been Orchidians for some years will no doubt
remember our “Kiwi” member, John Burgess. John always had a good bit
of advice in answer to about any question you could ask. Several
years ago he and his wife Jean had a bad auto accident, and he had
to move her into a home. He also had to move. I just received word
from one of his sons, Peter, that John paced away peacefully and
quietly, with no pain, recently.

Memorial notes may be sent to

Margaret Malm

John was the most delightful gentleman I had met on Orchid… a very
warm, inspiring, and kind human being with a vast knowledge of a
great many things. He is missed.


Posted on our facebook page:

Karen Hemmerle: Such sad news. John was a great inspiration to so
many people.

Gary W. Bourbonais: This is sad to hear…He will be missed…

Jessee J. Smith: Very sad news - John brought such a lot of wisdom
to Orchid. He will be missed.

Jean Stout Adkins: ah, the longer we didn’t hear from him the more i

Thomas J Janstrom: How sad, He will be sorely missed. Thank you
passing on the news Hanuman…

Carrie Nunes: So sorry to hear that. What a dear and funny man.
Thank you for letting us know Hanuman.

Teresa Masters: Hanuman, Thanks for this sad word. John and I
continued a long correspondence after his wife became disabled. He
was a remarkably talented man and was enriched by a never ending
font of knowledge and an wonderful sharing personality. He was so
accepting of the changes in his life style, there is an incredible
message there for those of us who tenaciously hang on to life as we
once knew it. I will miss my exchange with John, he was indeed a
remarkable fellow. RIP John Burgess.

Rawiphan Hemwet: Sorry for sad news…

Philip John: Wells I live near John, but I only met him once, and
yes, he was very knowledgable and happy to share his knowledge, he
will be missed

Diana Lovett: RIP John, such a voice Orchid had, enjoyed his

Oliver Bleu: So very sad. Rest well, John Burgess, and thank you for
so generously sharing your wisdom! We are all diminished by this

Robyn Hawk: What a lovely man - sad to hear - thank you for posting
this and the contact info for the family…

Lisa Hawthorne: I will miss John, always looked forward to his post.
He was so knowledgeable in the physics side of things,not to mention
design as well… Love to his family.

Nola Anna Tomaska: Farewell to a wonderful person. I was lucky
enough to have received some of his wisdom and good humor thanks to
orchid. Kind wishes to his family. Sad news…

Ken Gastineau: I can remember when John joined the listserve. He had
alot of class. May he RIP.

Pat Moses-Caudel: oh i am so sorry, he lived a full and varied life
and i was proud to call hiim friend

John Burgess passed away painlessly on Friday, December 2nd, in
his home town of Nelson, New Zealand. John was 91 

He will be missed by me for sure.

Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing

It was with great sadness that I read Hanuman’s post telling us that
dear John Burgess has passed away. He was a great and generous man,
and always willing to share knowledge with us. He will always be part
of Orchid, as Hanuman has pointed out, he will live in our Archives.
I sent a personal note to his family, as I am sure others have.

I was concerned as we had not heard from him for some time. Here he
was, in his late 80’s and on into his 90’s, still sharing
and helping all of us. What a wonderful inspiration he
has been. Rest in Peace, dear friend.


Oh no! I adored John! How very sad. I know that so many of us will
miss him terribly.

Lisa, (leaving for Paris tomorrow) Topanga, CA USA

So John Burgess is at peace. He was truely a great gentleman,
artist, and chemist. I consider it a privilege to know him, even if
it was only on line. Our family appreciated his sharing all his World
War II memoirs with us after I expressed an intrest in them. My
brother was also on a mine sweeper in a later war and he enjoyed
reading Johns experiences.

I wonder if there is any chance that John’s family would share those
jewelry pictures that will be shown at his funeral.

Rose Alene, central Idaho

This is such sad news. He always had wonderful storiesand his advice
was always spot on.

Tom Arnold

I was saddened to read of his passing. John’s posts on Orchid were
always my favorites, no matter the topic. He always seemed to be
able to diffuse even the most emotional topic threads with his humor
and wisdom. Wherever you are, John, I hope there are lots of fun
chemicals for you to experiment with and only the best jewelry
materials with which to work.

–Kathy Johnson

While traveling in New Zealand in 2005, my husband and I had a
delightful time visiting John in Nealson. His wife Jean was still in
the hospital recovering from an auto accident and during our visit,
they chatted on the phone several times. She was bored at the
hospital and was knitting the staff sweaters and scarfs to stay busy.

John was a warm and caring person who absolutely loved Orchid. His
computer keyboard was set up in front of his favorite chair in the
living room. He walked us around his house and into his workshop
where we discovered that he he also had a love of woodworking. He
tinkered around making wooden bowls of which he gave to us as a
present. That very bowl sits in our house in an honored spot and is a
cherished memory of our times together.

His metalsmithing workshop was very simple, but you could tell right
away, it was something that he loved very much. John remarked that it
was the Orchid community that made him feel part of something grand.

John worked I believe as a chemist, which explains why he steered us
all correctly over the years with good so we would not
hurt ourselves. I’m saddened to hear this news, but knowing John, he
lived a wonderful and rich life.

We will miss John but am very glad that we took the opportunity to
visit him in person while we were there. A reminder that everyone in
our Orchid community is no stranger.

Rest in peace John.

Karen Christians
Dave Stefanovic

The world has lost a special man today. He will be missed.


A great loss. Even though we never actually met, his postings and
advice was invaluable to me in my research on historical jewelry
processes. This gentleman earned my respect and admiration…

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL

So sorry to hear of John’s passing… we had some great private
conversations over the years. Very knowledgeable, giving, and caring
gentleman! May he rest in peace!

Oh John funny that I have been thinking of you for several months
now. I will as will so many that knew you and your giving self on
Orchid …Miss You! Your having worked on ships and just an all
around geek about how things worked and thinking out of the box has
been so great on Orchid. You were to me the essence of Orchid group
…helping without jealousy or fear of competition. I will always
remember the help I had when Magnetic bowl metal finishers first
came out and I posed a problem about my pins getting grey and black.
You Responded that I might try Coke Cola to clean pins because of the
presence of Phosphoric acid in Coke. You said that they used to take
off rust on ships with such. On and on for so many weeks that we
thought you would live forever.

I will miss you…

I am saddened to learn of John’s passing, but am grateful that he had
no pain. John had the remarkable gift of unreservedly sharing his
thoughts and extensive knowledge. Those of us on Orchid were blessed
to learn from him. I enjoyed exchanging messages via email with John
and looked forward to his postings. He had not posted on Orchid for
some time, and I was feeling uneasy about him. Our cybercommunity
has lost a wonderful member and he will be remembered fondly. My
sincere condolences to John’s family.

Judy in Kansas

Rest In Peace Dear John, rest in peace, may your positive memories
keep you in ours. thank you for all the great posts and advice.
missing you already.

Atelier Hratch Babikian

I enjoyed his posts. He had a lot of good advice.