BRATTLEBORO - John Burgess, a former Vermont lawmaker and lieutenant governor, died of heart failure Thursday, in Keene, N.H. He was 87.
A native of New York City, Mr. Burgess moved to Vermont at 13, served in the US Air Force during the Korean War and went on to become a town attorney and prosecutor. In 1966, he became a state representative, eventually rising to become House speaker in 1969.
Mr. Burgess was a Republican. He was elected lieutenant governor in 1970, serving from 1971 to 1975 under Governor Tom Salmon. "Jack was one of nature's noblemen," said Salmon, a Democrat. "I have not met a more thoroughly decent man in public life. He was good, honest and straightforward."
His son, Fred Burgess, remembered his father as someone who looked out for the less fortunate: "Dad was as comfortable around total strangers . . . as he was with the president of the United States. He was a champion for people who had fallen on hard times."