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Fred Bursch, longtime Alexandria resident, businessman, dies at the age of 70

Arrangements are with Anderson Funeral Home.

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Fred Bursch
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Brave, generous, kind, innovative, courageous, a role model and leader, an inspiration, treated his employees like family, a great businessman and an asset to the community.

These are just a few of the words and comments posted about Fred Bursch, a longtime Alexandria resident and business owner, after his daughter, Lara Deppisch, shared the news of his passing on the Bursch Travel Facebook page .

Bursch, 70, passed away on Thursday, Dec. 23, after fighting his fourth bout of cancer.

In an Echo Press article from Aug. 13, 2021 , announcing his retirement from Bursch Travel, Bursch said he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 adenocarcinoma of the rectum with metastases in his bones, liver and lymph nodes. In 2011, he had esophageal cancer. In 2014, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer and then in 2016, he dealt with a diagnosis of urothelial cancer.

RELATED ARTICLE: Fred Bursch to retire from Bursch Travel, a business his father started 65 years ago

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When Bursch retired, Deppisch was named vice president and will eventually take over the business, making her the third generation owner. Bursch, who led the company for nearly 45 years, was still chairman of the family-owned business when he passed away. Bursch Travel was founded by his parents, Pete and Audrey Bursch, in 1956.

RELATED ARTICLE: Alexandria's Bursch Travel evolved from a cafe to a multi-state business

Deppisch said her uncle and many of her family members jokingly called her dad, “Mr. Alexandria” as he would do just about anything for the town.

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Lara Deppisch

“Between Theatre L’Homme Dieu, Rotary, Legacy of the Lakes and many other countless organizations over the years, he’s given back time and time again,” she said in the Aug. 13 story. “Yes, I’m proud to eventually take over Bursch Travel. But more than anything, I’m proud to be Fred Bursch’s daughter.”

She also said that her dad’s life was never defined by a cancer diagnosis.

“With the help of his incredible wife, Terri, and their team of doctors, he continued to move through life with a seemingly endless supply of optimism and an enduring faith in God,” said Deppisch. “A quote that really hit home for him near the end was, ‘We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.’ I think it’s safe to say he achieved that goal.

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Services planned

A celebration of life for Bursch will take place on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, at 1 p.m. at First Lutheran Church in Alexandria. A visitation will take place on Friday, Jan. 14, at First Lutheran Church from 4 to 7 p.m., as well as one hour prior to the service on Jan. 15. More details can be found on the Anderson Funeral Home website.

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Fred Bursch, seen in this photo from October 2020, owned Bursch Travel for four decades. He passed away on Dec. 23, 2021. Echo Press file photo

FredBursch 9199.jpg
Fred Bursch, seen in this photo from October 2020, owned Bursch Travel for four decades. He passed away on Dec. 23, 2021. Echo Press file photo

FredBursch 9199.jpg
Fred Bursch, seen in this photo from October 2020, owned Bursch Travel for four decades. He passed away on Dec. 23, 2021. Echo Press file photo

Related Topics: PEOPLEALEXANDRIATRAVEL
Celeste Edenloff is the special projects lead and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
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