Penwell Turner Funeral Home - Shelby, Ohio

Deacon Joseph Leo Burkhart

Deacon Joseph Leo Burkhart, age 84, of Crestline, passed from this Earth early Monday morning, December 21, 2020 at OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital. He died of a lonely heart, missing his beloved wife, Sandy, who passed on February 17, 2018.

Joe was born May 30, 1936 in Crestline, Ohio, the son of the late Henry C. and Catherine E. (Schauff) Burkhart. He lived his entire life in Crestline, having graduated from Crestline High School in 1954. Joe served his country in the United States Army with the U.S. Army Rifle Team in Grafenwohr, Germany during the Berlin Crisis from 1958-1962. He married Sandra L. Apger on July 3, 1960. They had one son, Shawn Burkhart, and one adopted son, Christopher Burkhart.

Joe was a devout Roman Catholic and was ordained a Catholic Deacon in the Diocese of Toledo on May 22, 1976.  He served as a Deacon at St. Joseph Catholic Church since 1976 and organized the Divine Mercy Novena and Chaplet, the only one in the area. In addition to his service to St. Joseph as a Deacon, he was very active as a lector, eucharistic minister, usher, server, and had overseen the church cemetery for many years. Joe was also an avid supporter of EWTN and was a life member of the Crestline Knights of Columbus. He spent his life serving others.

Joe was employed at Becks Bakery in Crestline, Ohio Steel Tube Company, and Kroger’s as a produce manager, prior to a 38-year career at the General Motors Ontario plant as a tool maker, retiring in 1995. After retirement he worked for Domino’s Pizza and Shenanigans both in Crestline and spent his remaining years serving his church, enjoying his family, researching his ancestors here and throughout Germany, and in prayer.

Joe, with his wife Sandy and his family, loved to travel to search for and collect Beanie Babies. They also enjoyed many trips to Amish Country, made and sold mini donuts at local fairs, and made candles for area craft shows.

Joe was dedicated to his family, always available to help anyone in need, and was humble, honest, and hard working. He was a man who did not need to try to do what was right- he always did what was right.

Joe was preceded in death by his parents; a sister: Elizabeth; two brothers: Charles H. and Henry C. Jr.; and his wife of 57 years: Sandy. Surviving relatives are sons: Shawn (Nanette) Burkhart of Crestline and Christopher (Nanaho) Burkhart of Bremerton, Washington; grandchildren: Craig (Erica) Burkhart, Sarah (Nathan) Hiler, Sakura Burkhart, and Haruka Burkhart; great grandchildren: Ella Burkhart, Jaxon Hiler and Bexley Hiler; brothers: Thomas (Jeanne) Burkhart of Marysville, William (Barbara) Burkhart of Galion, James (Rose) Burkhart of Wooster, and Ernest (Linda) Burkhart of Jacksonville, Florida; sisters: Mary Lou (Charles) Marek of Crestline, Gladys Burkhart Henderson of Lakeland, Florida, Catherine Forman of Lakeland, Florida, Evelyn Buchanan of Ashland, Theresa (Thomas) Fisher of Lakeland, Florida and Irene (Dennis) Borgelt of Mansfield; and 22 nieces and nephews.

Family and friends are welcome on Sunday, December 27, 2020 from 4-6 pm at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 331 N Thoman Street, Crestline, Ohio 44827. Joe’s Funeral Mass will be on Monday, December 28, 2020 at 2 pm at the church with Fr. Jeff Smith officiating. Joe’s burial will be private with his wife, Sandra, in the church cemetery at a later date. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the St. Joseph Catholic Church, 331 N Thoman Street, Crestline, Ohio 44827.

Care for Joe and his family is being provided by the Penwell Turner Funeral Home, 168 West Main Street, Shelby.

Appropriate ways to express sympathy for those unable to attend may be done by leaving an online condolence at or by leaving a comment on Joe’s obituary on the funeral home’s Facebook page,

Memories & Condolence

  1. Bob & Kim McCracken says:

    Sarah, Nate & family. You are in our thoughts & prayers. Hugs, Bob & Kim

  2. Ann Imhoff says:

    So very sorry to hear of Joe’s passing! We had a lot of good times when we were kids❤️❤️

  3. Nancy Fensch says:

    Shawn and Nan- I’m so sorry for your loss. Praying for you and your family.

  4. Kent Risner says:

    Shawn, Nan and family, we were greatly saddened to learn of Joe’s death. We are glad that we had the chance to see and talk with him at the memorial for Jerry Miller some time ago. It had been years since we had that opportunity. May God bless you with consoling special memories and healing grace. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your entire family. Kent & Shelley Risner

  5. Bruce & Stacy Howell says:

    Joe will be missed as an important part of our church family. Prayers & condolences for entire Burkhart family.

  6. Scott & Betty Marek says:

    Shawn & Nan and family members,

    We are very sorry to hear about the passing of Uncle Joe! I will always remember him to be a soft-spoken and humble man who was quick with either a quip or words of insight, depending on the need.

    I’m certain he is now at peace and I hope that you all can find yours in time knowing he is with Aunt Sandy in a better place.

    Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you!

  7. Cyril & Bonnie says:

    What a amazing obit for a amazing Deacon! Joe served St.Joseph church with pride. Thank you, Joe it was a joy to listen to your homilies,your stories that were always entertaining.Rest In Peace Deacon Joe.You deserve the rest….our sympathy Shawn and Nanette.Yohr a example

  8. Cyril & Bonnie Cochran says:

    Wow what a beautiful obit…Deacon Joe you served St.Joseph well.Thank you for your service.Rest in peace you deserve it! Our sympathy to Shawn & Nanette.Also to Joe’s large family he left behind. Deacon Joe I will miss your stories…thanks for sharing them!

  9. Marilyn and Dan Flaherty says:

    Rest In Peace, Joe! Thank you for your service at St. Joseph Church!

  10. Ken & Sharon Bauman says:

    Shawn & Nan,
    So sorry for your loss. We know it has been stressful the past few months. May God grant you peace and comfort. What a great man.
    Ken & Sharon Bauman

  11. Philip Burkhart Drayer says:

    First let me extend condolences from my family to the entire Burkhart family on the loss of Uncle Joe. I did not know Uncle Joe. Very recently, I learned that I am a Burkhart, a nephew and have started to learn about this remarkable family. Uncle Joe lived an amazing life. A life filled with dedication and faith of decades of service to the Church, his family and his fellow parishioners. He spread the word of the Lord and was pillar of strength and virtue not only in his Church but to the entire Crestline community.

    What an incredible role model for all those, which he helped and touched with his wisdom and fellowship. Because of my faith, I know that Uncle Joe now stands tall before the Lord in Heaven, proud of his service and love of the Church. He is now ready for the next chapter in his Life. An eternal Life in the great beyond, a life in reward for helping his fellow man under the teachings and the lessons of the Lord. For only HE can bestow the final blessings.

    Oneday, we shall see him again. Be present at our table, Lord. Be here and everywhere adored. Thy creatures bless, and grant that we one day may feast in paradise with thee.

    Very Respectfully,

    Philip Burkhart Drayer
    Annapolis, Maryland

  12. Mark & Amber Christy says:

    Our deepest sympathies. Keeping you all close in prayers.
    Mark & Amber Christy

  13. Carol A Akers says:

    Shawn, I am so sorry for Uncle Joe’s passing. It has been a very difficult couple of years for you all. You are all in our prayers.

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