Obituary: Jay Burr, 1949-2015 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Jay Burr, 1949-2015

Published July 21, 2015 at 4:00 a.m.
Updated July 21, 2015 at 2:42 p.m.

Jay Burr
  • Jay Burr

Singer, songwriter and musician, Jay Burr, widely known for his performances with the Pure Pressure Band passed peacefully on Tuesday morning, July 14, 2015. His death was attributed to a cardiac infection following a long illness with polycystic kidney disease. He was born in Patrick, SC in 1949.

An avid Redskins fan, Jay grew up in Northeast DC. In high school he joined a small group of student activists, the Modern Strivers, to start the first accredited student run high school in the US, the Freedom. He became its first director in 1968. Thereafter, he earned a full academic scholarship to Holy Cross College majoring in English.

Although born in SC, and raised in DC, Vermont was home to Jay since 1974. In 1983 Jay along with Dave Grippo, Bruce Sklar, Clyde Stats, and David Weaver began the Pure Pressure band. Jay’s unique and versatile voice transcended the boundaries of jazz, funk, R&B, reggae, and blues, but it was his soulful vocal print that had fans flocking to the dance floors.

Aside from his professional singing career, Jay’s life’s work was dedicated to improving the life of those seeking mental health services in our community. As a residential case manager and designated home provider for Specialized Community Care of Middlebury, VT, his deep humanity was easily felt through his natural ability to profoundly impact many lives. It was his greatest and most fulfilling privilege to be there for others.

In marriage, Jay joined the late Bess Bates of Fayston and her three young boys. Their son Dakota was born in 1981. In 1992, Jay married June Pekar of Fayston, and welcomed the birth of their children Miles and Peyton.

Jay is survived by former wife June Burr, and children Miles and Peyton Burr all of Fayston; Dakota Burr of Burlington; grandchildren Aliyah Burr of Burlington, Jeremy Burr of Morrisville, and Zion Burr of Essex Junction; several brother and sisters. He is predeceased by parents Edmund and Bernice Gainey Burr; sisters Wanda, Nona, and Veda Burr, and nephew Kenny Burr.

Please email for details on a pot luck celebration of his life August 9, 2015 at the Lareau Country Farm, 48 Lareau Rd, Waitsfield, VT at 1 PM.

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