Jeff Burr (JB), 69, of Rainelle, West Virginia had a true passion for life. Born in West Virginia, he lived most of his life in WV and Kentucky. As a loving father, son, brother, cousin, and friend, Jeff was welcoming, accepting, and a truly loving person known for his generous, resourceful, and quiet nature.
A voracious reader and scholar, Jeff always strove to increase his understanding of the arts, music, nature, history, and the world. Historic firearms, traditional technologies, and the processes of the earth were of particular interest to him. Jeff loved to discover and share knowledge with others through study, exploration, and discussion. He was known for giving the truest bear hugs, deep smiles that radiated out of those blue eyes, playing guitar - especially with his closest friends, his mischievous dry whit and storytelling, and his quiet, generous nature.
Jeff was an artist by trade for over 45 years, a master potter. Mostly sticking to traditional techniques, Jeff made his own clay from the earth and glazes from ash and glass. Always leaning toward naturally-curved forms and colors, Jeff fired his thrown pots in kilns he built himself. The flames and ash of wood firings added even more character to his art. Jeff’s patience and eye for detail showed through the spirit of each piece of art he created, functional pottery.
Jeff was always generous to help others, especially when it came to sharing his experiences and passion for pottery. He was a true master of his craft, a pottery whisperer who often helped fellow artists and students continue to find their own creative spirit and voice through the art of pottery.
Jeff would be honored to have us continue his passion for the arts by supporting the next generation of ceramic artists at Berea College (BC) and beyond. Three generations of Burrs are now part of the BC family, including Jeff. To further such efforts gifts in memory of Jeff Burr may be made to Berea College at CPO 2216, Berea College, Berea, KY 40404 or online at
. Gifts in Jeff’s memory will go to Berea’s Ceramics Department. Please be sure to note on your check, or on the website, that your gift is in Jeff’s memory.
We will have a life celebration picnic for Jeff in several months when we can safely gather together again. So for now, light your favorite JB candle lantern, have a favorite meal in a JB bowl, raise a cup of strong coffee in your favorite JB mug or wine in your JB goblet, put flowers in your JB vase, make some art, sing a verse of Jeff’s Dirty Little Caveman song, play your Gibson hummingbird guitar - or any that you have, enjoy your favorite yard birds at your feeder, take a leisurely stroll in the woods to discover, discuss, and enjoy the plants, rocks, and water, cuddle with you favorite cat, make some homemade buttermilk pancakes, ... Find YOUR way to celebrate what Jeff brought to your life and let that warm your hearts and bring a smile to your face today and always. Share his stories, especially the ones that make you laugh and smile. He’d like that as will we, friends!
Jeff’s family and friends, including his loving wife Jodi French-Burr, daughter Lily Hope Burr, sister Carol Woods, and brother Tony Burr, will continue to celebrate the memories of their times with this extraordinary person that brought so much to their lives. Jeff was proceeded in death by his son Ryland Burr and his parents, Gene Burr and Alma Haynes Burr.
Life of His Clay
A poem for Jeff Burr by Jodi French-Burr, ©️ 2009
Who’d ever think that clay could really breathe,
Filled with soulful spirit, a thing we all need?
But he has found a way to make the soul sing.
Through the salt of the earth he can make the land ring.
His magic, it starts with dirt and clay of the land.
He works it and blends it, browns, grays, and tans.
With proper blending and rest, the mixtures take on a new form.
Then he adds his breath of life with richness so warm.
With his wheel as companion, he draws each one up.
The body of clay moves with him, his guidance a leg up.
When you see him at work, it is like they are one.
Where he leads the clay follows, no spirit undone.
Each is an individual with simple, natural lines.
Yet their earthen complexity is one of a kind.
Every one is unique, yet shares the soul of the man.
One by one they take form and show what they can.
Patience is part of each birthday as well.
A day in the sun reveals what time may true tell.
Then it’s back to the master with colorful eyes.
Ashen glazes add natural character when it’s applied.
But the true test of such spirit is when things really heat up.
Meet the challenge head on; strength of spirit won’t let you slip up.
The battling flames run high and hot through the night,
But with his care and attention they all come out right.
Their life and strength then take on a new face,
So solid and grounded these spirits of place.
These ones then bring strength back to the man.
Like a proud papa, learning has always been part of his plan.
While some stay close with the man the admire,
Most share his gospels with others, enriched by his style.
Each then brings on a new life of its own,
In keeping with Jeffrey's wishes he will be cremated.
Online condolences may be sent at
Arrangements were made by Tyree Funeral Home, Oak Hill.