One of the men who led the grass-roots movement to bring back the Christmas character “Archie the Snowman” has died.
David A. Burkett, 36, of Green, died after collapsing at home Monday. A cause of death has not been determined, according to the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Family members said medical examiner officials indicated to them that Mr. Burkett had an enlarged heart.
In the fall of 2011, Mr. Burkett and a friend, Tommy Uplinger, started lobbying to bring back Archie the Snowman, the 22-foot-tall Christmas character that had been part of Akron’s history at Chapel Hill Mall from the late 1960s until 2004.
Through social networking sites, the two men gathered support throughout the community to revive Archie, and during the Christmas season of 2012 the snowman returned to the basement of the former O’Neil’s store near Lock 3 Park in downtown Akron. He was there last Christmas as well.
“He was a major force that brought together community opinion creating a groundswell of support,” Dave Lieberth, a former Akron deputy mayor, said of Mr. Burkett.
Uplinger called his friend a “stand-up guy” who would do anything for anyone.
Mr. Burkett “lived today like there is no tomorrow,” Uplinger said. “Nothing stopped him. He was the guy everyone wanted to be around.”
Joanna Wilson, 45, of Akron, who is writing a book about the Archie character, said Mr. Burkett’s and Uplinger’s efforts to bring back Archie were remarkable.
“This is an interesting social networking success story,” Wilson said. “Christmas is about traditions, and people really wanted to continue this tradition of Archie.”
Mr. Burkett worked in finance and real estate. He is survived by his wife of five months, Nicole; his daughter Madeline, his parents, a brother and many other relatives.
A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Queen of Heaven Catholic Church, 1800 Steese Road, Green. A fundraiser to help the family with expenses will be held at 9 p.m. today at Legend’s Sports Pub and Grille, 1840 Town Park Blvd., Green.
Along with the fundraiser tonight, there is also website set up to raise money: www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/fundraiser-for-the-family-of-david-goob-burkett/152069.
And in lieu of flowers, contributions also can be made to the David A. Burkett Bereavement Fund at any Huntington Bank branch.
For more on the effort to bring back Archie, go to The Bring Back Archie the Snowman Fan Page on Facebook.
People who wish to share stories about Archie for Wilson’s book can reach her at Joanna@1701press.com.
Calling hours for Mr. Burkett will be today (Friday) from 1 to 3 and 5 to 8 p.m, at the House of Eberhardt Funeral Home at 472 W. Turkeyfoot Llake Road in New Franklin.
Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or email@example.com.