“Tudor” Hassell Horace Burk

December 1940 – January 2019

“Tudor” Hassell Horace Burk, nicknamed Tudor from childhood, was an only child of Bow and Dorothy Burk of Texas. Tudor was born in Wasco after his parents moved to California. Later the family moved to Newark, California and then Niles where the Burk and Ross families had a brief encounter. The Rosses visited relatives in Niles and the children would play with the kids in the neighborhood. As chance would have it, the Burks lived next door to the Rosses’ relatives and Tudor was one of the neighborhood kids. It was after they moved to Fremont and Tudor attended Washington High School in Centerville that the Burk and Ross families crossed paths again, Carol Ross, a freshman, and Tudor Burk, a senior. Later, Grady, Carol’s cousin and childhood friend of Tudor, reintroduced Tudor and Carol. She was a junior in high school and Tudor worked as a machinist for Freedon’s in San Leandro, California. Who knew. They have been inseparable ever since. Years later, viewing family photos, revealed the history shared between them.

Although Tudor’s family were ranchers in Texas, he had no exposure to this style of living. He was raised in the city and not a stranger to tuxedos, kept his shoes shined and not a single hair out of place. The Ross family considered him a “city slicker.” Carol, a cowgirl and his new love, would introduce him to horses and ranch life.

Tudor and Carol married in a little chapel in Reno, Nevada in 1962 on July 21st a month after Carol’s graduation from Washington High School and the Ross family’s move from Newark, California to Turlock, a small farming community in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Soon they would venture out and Tudor would discover his love for ranching and wide-open spaces. Over the next several years they lived as far north in California as Red Bluff where he shot his first deer and the southern most part of the San Joaquin Valley in Buttonwillow working as a ranch hand, working and branding cattle.

Their first son, Billy, was born in Turlock on September 22nd in 1963. The young family moved to Fort Worth, Texas in 1965 and returned to California in 1969 with another son, Wade, now 3 years old born on December 8th in 1966. They first settled in Denair and later moved to Jamestown and then Sonora in the Sierra Mountains. There was a lot of filming of Westerns in the area. Little House on the Prairie was filmed in Jamestown. While living in Sonora, Tudor was approached by a talent scout searching for Extras who asked if he would like to be in the movies. Without hesitation he responded…”No.”

A local bartender asked Tudor if he could buy the cowboy hat off his head. He was looking for authentic cowboy gear to decorate his bar. The hat would be a perfect piece to display on his hat rack. Tudor was fond of the hat that took years to break in and was not willing to part with it.

Later Tudor’s family moved to Merced and finally settled back in Turlock in 1980. Tudor may have been a “wanna-be cowboy” back in the early ‘60’s, but he became a genuine Buckaroo and is among the last of a dying breed of cowboys. When we think of a song that best depicts Tudor’s heart, it would be “Don’t Fence Me In” sung by Roy Rogers:

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above
Don’t fence me in
Let me ride through the wild open country that I love
Don’t fence me in
Let me be by myself in the evenin’ breeze
Listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees
Send me off forever, but I ask you please
Don’t fence me in
Just turn me loose, let me straddle my old saddle
Underneath the western skies
On my cayuse, let me wander over yonder
Till I see the mountains rise
I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences
And gaze at the moon until I lose my senses
I can’t look at hobbles and I can’t stand fences
Don’t fence me in

In this technology age we live in, Tudor has done pretty well. He managed to text, retrieve photos, ask the phone questions and research products on line. Many his age could not keep up. Tudor became a collector of kitchen gadgets. Those who knew him best will miss the hunt for the latest “As Seen On TV”. It has been a long while since Tudor has been able to ride a horse and do so many of the things he enjoyed so much. We lost him suddenly and prematurely, but we believe that he is free of all pain and suffering, managing a large cattle ranch in Cowboy Heaven, singing “Back in the Saddle Again” with Gene Autry:

I’m back in the saddle again
Out where a friend is a friend
Where the longhorn cattle feed
On the lowly gypsum weed
I’m back in the saddle again
Ridin’ the range once more
Totin’ my old .44
Where you sleep out every night
And the only law is right
Back in the saddle again

Tudor is survived by his wife, Carol, of 56 years, two sons, Bill and Wade, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Although an only child, he married into a large family. He leaves behind many who love him and will miss his smile and humor every day.
It hurt to let you go, but it hurt more to not let you go. Tudor, you were and are loved.

Your Sister-In-Law, Cathy


Remembrances

  1. I love you so much. Every time I think of you I cry, like right now. It’s not fair you left so quickly. You mean so much to me it’s so hard. I was never able to give back to you. So unfair.

  2. So sorry to hear about Tudor passing. I didn’t realize he was named after my father. I am a cousin Charlotte Mills, my father and mother Christine and Hassell Carpenter. My email address is Kcmills2000@yahoo.com.
    This was a wonderful story in the obituary I enjoyed reading it.
    Love Charlottte Mills

  3. Uncle Tudor was not a show off but I wanted to share one of my favorite memories of him (in city slicker terms). This was probably in the early 70’s. He had his rope and was swinging it around (as if to lasso a bull) and then lowered it to just above the ground level, still swirling around. He then began to dance in and out of the rope while it was swirling in a horizontal spin, just above the ground. It was something from the cowboy olympics and I was star-struck! He was just having fun and I’ll never forget it.
    Aunt Cathy, I really enjoyed reading the memorial you wrote in his honor. Very nicely done. Sending my love to the family and friends.

  4. We’re so sorry for your loss, Carol and all the family. Tudor definitely was a member of the Ross family! Bill remembers him so well from childhood.
    I always enjoyed seeing him when we would come see you all!
    We love you and just wish there was something we could do to ease your pain!
    Cousin Diane and Bill

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