Rhey O. Burchard

December 13, 1936 - August 30, 2018

Rhey O. Burchard, a lifelong resident of Lee County, died Thursday in his Fort Myers home. He was 81.

Born Dec. 13, 1936 at Lee Memorial Hospital, Rhey was the oldest working licensed general contractor in Lee County. He owned and operated Burchard Construction since 1961, and he worked in his shop, building stunning furniture by hand, until the day he died.

Rhey loved watching the Florida Gators play football – even during their losing seasons. He was a foodie before that term was even invented, and he had a passion for rare New York strips, caldo gallego, Cuban sandwiches and anything Arlene baked. He was a gracious host who made sure visitors’ glasses were always full and that they never left hungry. He perfected the art of making vodka martinis (just a capful of vermouth and plenty of olives).

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Arlene; his daughter, Stacy Wagner, and her husband, Jim, of Tampa; his son, Joe Burchard, of Fort Myers; his brother, Richard Burchard, and his wife, Jan, of Homosassa; his granddaughter, Meg Wagner, of Brooklyn, New York; his nephew, Steve Pigott, and his wife, Tamara, of Fort Myers; his great niece, Hayden, of Colorado; as well as three grandpets: dogs, Sydney and Vonnegut, and Pokey the cat.

He is preceded in death by his father, Orville Burchard; mother, Lillian Conrod Burchard; and sister, Margaret “Peg” Pigott.

At Rhey’s request, there will not be a service. In lieu of flowers, please buy yourself a drink.

Mullins Memorial Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Cape Coral, is entrusted with final care.


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