Mark O. “Red” Burds

Mark O. “Red” Burds

Mark O. “Red” Burds, age 84, of Dubuque, was called home peacefully at 9:24 a.m., on Wednesday, January 8, 2020, at Stonehill Care Center, surrounded by his loving family. To celebrate Red’s life, family and friends may visit from 9:00 a.m., until 11:00 a.m., on Saturday, January 11, 2020, at Behr Funeral Home, 1491 Main Street. To honor Red’s life, funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., on Saturday, January 11, 2020, at Behr Funeral Home, 1491 Main Street, with Linda Frommelt officiating. Burial will be in Mt. Calvary Cemetery, where military honors will be accorded by the U.S. Army and the Dubuque Marine Corps League.

Red was born on December 29, 1935, in Epworth, Iowa, son of James and Mary (Downey) Burds.

Red grew up on the family farm in Worthington and was home-schooled for many years before graduating from St. Paul’s in Worthington in 1953. He began working at John Deere Dubuque Works shortly after graduation. Red entered the U.S. Army in 1958 and served as a carpenter and a boxer at Ft. Carson in Colorado until 1960, when he returned to John Deere. His boxing career continued after his service for many years with great success. “Rockin’ Red” was a Golden Glove boxer who was well-known for both his boxing and his coaching successes. Red coached at the Dubuque YMCA and the Dubuque Boys’ Club for much of his life.

Red married Darlene Chatfield on December 30, 1961 at Sacred Heart Church in Dubuque, and together they were blessed with 4 daughters. Rockin’ Red was also a prolific writer of prose and poetry throughout his life even setting some of his writings to music and recording them. He enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, especially his daughters and his grandchildren. Red could regularly be found dining with his “lady-friend”, Mary Ellen Quade, at the Moracco. We are saddened at the loss of such a loving, caring and creative man in our daily lives, but his legacy will be passed on for generations through his writings. Anyone who has enjoyed his works will have a smile on their face at the mere thought of his poems or his songs.

Those left to cherish Mark’s memory include

his children,
Becky (Guy) Hemenway, Peosta, IA,
Nancy Thomas, Dubuque, IA
and Kathy Allman, Peosta, IA;

his 4 grandchildren,
Lizzy & Bailey Hemenway, Miranda Thomas and Dan Allman;

his great-grandson, Theo;

his siblings,
Joan (Ed) Burds-Taylor, St. Genevieve, MO,
Jim Burds, Thornton, CO
and Donna Burds, St. Louis, MO;

a sister-in-law,
Suzanne Burds, Dubuque, IA;

his former wife,
Darlene Burds-Thiede, Peosta, IA.

Mark was preceded in death by his parents; a daughter, Sandy “Ding-a-ling” Burds; a son-in-law, Darrell Allman; 2 brothers, Mike and Denis Burds; a sister, Therese Roling; a sister-in-law, Nonie Burds and his “Special lady-friend”, Mary Ellen Quade.

Red’s family would like to thank the staff of Stonehill Care Center and Hospice of Dubuque for all of their kind and caring support of Red and his family.

Memorials will be accepted by the family to be distributed among Red’s favorite charities.

View local florists here.


Behr Funeral Home
1491 Main St., Dubuque, IA 52001
January 11th, 2020 from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM


Behr Funeral Home
1491 Main St., Dubuque, IA 52001
January 11th, 2020 at 11:00 AM

5 condolences for Mark O. “Red” Burds
  1. Paulette Salfen says:

    Thanks you Burds family for sharing this gem of a man. We loved Mark and his verse. Jim and Mary created a great bunch of kids and off spring. We will never say Mark’s name with out a smile and a nod.

    Much sympathy and love from your Minnesota “kin”

    Paulette Salfen, Steve Marshall, Selena Salfen and Kyle Davis and their Hilde

  2. Stacy Doyle says:

    My memories of your father are of the boxing days. My mom and dad were Barbara and Marvin Clendenen. He was a good friend to my father. Him and my dad were both boxing coaches at the same time. I am sure that he is having a good time “catching” up with my father who died in 1996. My prayers and sympathies to his family. May the memories of your dad get you through this difficult time.

  3. Steve Schultz says:

    We are so sad to hear of your loss. Just heard and are out-of-state. My memories of Mark will always be of his creative mind, sly wit and endless energy. He will be missed by everyone who knew him.
    Sorry we can’t be with you today. You have our sympathy, prayers and a remote hug.
    Steve and Sally

  4. Bill Downey says:

    Dear Donna, Joan and Jim,

    My condolences on the passing of Mark, one of my favorite cousins. I will always remember his sense of humor and his willingness to debate issues of the day, sometime with my Dad!

    No doubt he will be missed by many.

    Bill Downey

  5. Dick Vorwald says:

    Remembering Mark as a Coach, he along with Lloyd Smith passed on what they learned from Coach McVay in Worthington. Pete Eischied & I are doing the best we can to keep the ‘circle unbroken’. His actions reminded us that boxing is not about ‘2 dummies hitting each other’ but like poetry, music, life, & faith there’s rhythm & meaning . God help us to keep the best of the past alive.

Leave a Condolence:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *