October 8, 2013


Cheryl Christine "Chris" Burgess, 64, died Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, after a long and courageous battle with lung cancer.

Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, at Pfannebecker Funeral Home in Denison, Iowa.

Funeral will be at Pfannebecker Funeral Home at 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, followed by burial at Crawford Heights Memory Gardens and a luncheon at Grace Evangelical Free Church. Casket bearers will include family members and friends Steve McKee, Mark Bilsten, Gerrad Elliott, Brian Heithoff, Ryan Johnson and Nathan Clark. Honorary casket bearers include all of Chris' nieces, nephews and grandchildren.

Chris was born April 30, 1949, to Fred "Bus" and Bette (Bets) Behn. She began her education in country schools is Hamlin, Iowa. She then attended high school in Audubon, Iowa; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Denver, Colo.; Atlantic, Iowa; and Griswold, Iowa, where she graduated in 1967. She later studied accounting at American Institute of Business in Des Moines, Iowa.

Chris married Scott Burgess on Oct. 17, 1982, in Denison. They raised two sons, Tobin and Jamey, and in 1991 added Jesus, a foreign exchange student from Monterey, Mexico, to the family.

Chris was a secretary and accountant for several companies, including Farmland Industries in Denison. Her love for the outdoors led her to open her own greenhouse business - Timeless Gardens - where she grew, dried and arranged flowers and herbs. Working alongside her husband, she was an invaluable partner in Burgess Wood Floors. She carried the business from behind the scenes, contributing to the financial, organizational and physical aspects of every project.

In her younger days, Chris was a bowler and an avid golfer. Throughout her life, she loved the outdoors, earning the title of master gardener. The most common place to find Chris was in her garden, her greenhouse or her drying room. She loved to take long walks in the rain, and it was not uncommon for her to walk 2 miles to work in the snow.

Of all the things Chris did, she most enjoyed serving the Lord, studying Scripture, and being active in church. She served for six years as an elder and for one year as a deacon at United Presbyterian Church in Denison. She taught Sunday school for 12 years and also worked with the youth group. She was most recently a member of Grace Evangelical Free Church and was looking forward to returning to her post as a Sunday school teacher.

Chris cared for all those she met, especially the younger ones, and strove to serve as a model of Christ by acting on the two greatest commandments: to love the Lord and to love her neighbors.

Chris is survived by her husband Scott; sons Jamey Bengfort, Tobin Burgess and Jesus Robledo; daughters-in-law Dina Bengfort, Jenny Burgess and Georgina Pena; sisters Julie Behn and Shelli (Mark) Groat; mother-in-law Fran Burgess; sister-in-law Kim (Curt) Heithoff; nieces Amy Behn, Shannon Crouse, Tania (Gerrad) Elliott, Christina Crouse, Tiffany Groat, Emily (Nathan) Clark and Danielle Law; nephews Matt Groat, Brian Heithoff and Ryan Johnson; grandchildren Nick and Ashley Fitzgerald, Jacob and Breanna Bengfort, and Taevin, Cason, and Ayla Burgess; great-grandchild Kaylee Boron; and multitudes of church and community friends who she loved and cared for like family.

Chris was preceded in death by her parents Bus and Bets Behn, father-in-law Don Burgess, brother Roger Behn and nephew Cory Laver.