John William Burnette

burnette john william

John William Burnette of Pulaski, Virginia, passed away on February 10th, 2024 of natural causes. John was preceded in death by his first love and first wife, Shanna, his brother, Donald (Donnie), brothers-in-law Scott and Benjamin (Benny) Allison, his father, Donald, father-in-law, Carl Allison.


John was born in California on August 28th,1961 to Donald and Hiroko Burnette. He was a graduate of Pulaski County High School class of 1979.  Following graduation, John proudly served his country in the United States Navy, and he married his high school sweetheart, Shanna Allison.  They had two daughters, Chelsi and Jonna, whom John considered to be his greatest accomplishments and blessings in life.


John was an easy-going, boot and jean wearing, tough guy who had the biggest heart.  He believed in working hard, taking care of what he worked for, and knowing how to fix and put anything together from motorcycles to his granddaughter’s toy kitchen! He was generous, loyal, and he would drop everything at a moment’s notice when someone he loved needed help.  John had a huge presence that made him easily stand out in a crowd, but he preferred to stand back so that the people he loved could shine.  He often had a witty comment to lovingly tease anyone he liked or cared for, and he always had a laugh when someone gave a witty reply right back to him even though no one could match John’s hilarious one-liners and legendary stories!

John was a skilled carpenter and electrician, and when he wasn’t fixing something for someone, he was helping friends and family with anything they needed him to do with no expectation of payment or praise. John believed there was always more to be thankful for than to complain about even though he lived in almost constant, physical pain after a life of hard, manual labor.


Left behind to cherish John’s memory are his beloved daughters, sons-in-law, and granddaughters: Chelsi and fiancé Juan Taylor of Pulaski and daughters, Caliana Taylor and Hannah Walson, and Jonna and Tyrell Johnson of Pulaski and their daughter, Lainey.

Also cherishing his memory are his mother, Hiroko and stepfather, Jaime Mexia of Hawaii, sisters and brothers-in-law, Mary and Porky Cabral of Hawaii, Lillian and Sam Kovacic of Virginia, Nancy and Jerry Alderman of Virginia, Suzanne Mexia and Moku of Hawaii, his brother and sister-in-law, Jeffrey and Cherish Mexia of Hawaii. Mother-in-law, Sonya Allison, Sister-in-law, Robyn Simpkins, Brother-Friend, Chuck Cox, nephew Brent Adkins and niece Kristen Adkins, to whom he was a second father, and several other very special nieces and nephews.

John also shared part of his life with Sunni Roop and her children and grandchildren. Jacey Mitchell of Pulaski and her children, Kayson and Aubrey, and Joey Burnette and his son Keenan of North Carolina.


There are no words to truly express how deeply John’s humor, devotion, generosity, big heart, and his quiet strength will be missed by his family and friends.  John believed in standing up for those less fortunate, and that there is no substitute for hard work.

“To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.”


Funeral services will be held at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, February 21st, 2024 at Bowers Funeral Home, Pulaski with Pastor Charlie Barbettini officiating.  Burial will follow in the Oakwood Cemetery.

The family will receive friends from 1:00 pm until service time on Wednesday, February 21st.,2024

To sign John’s online guestbook, visit


Arrangements by Bower Funeral Home in Pulaski, Virginia.