John Burhani: An Original Masterpiece

Art and Soul


Many people around Kenosha knew John Burhani.  There are very few people that are universally loved and respected in this close knit community.  Kenosha can sometimes fight amongst herself and the narrative “I’m hardest on you and talk about you because we are so close and I love you” plays out constantly.  And everyone is well aware that those words are simply words to justify one’s true feelings about someone they know.  John Burhani has no place in that conversation.  You can reach out to thousands of people that knew John and aside from the occasional “I think that dude was crazy” response, John Burhani was appreciated by everyone…loved by most…missed by all.

The story of John Burhani can be best summed up by two words:  that dude.  You mean the guy windsurfing over there by Carthage in February??  Yea, that dude.  Oh, the guy who bought the lighthouse?  Yep, that dude.  The guy who could sail and surf and paint and make money and be a family man and crack you up every time he opened his mouth?  Yes, he sure was that dude.  As humans, it is inherent in our nature to gravitate towards greatness, well John Burhani possessed that kind of pull.  The truly beautiful and amazing and unique part about that is, it was an original piece.  Like the pictures he painted, John Burhani was his own work of art.  And many is the time that a person looks at a canvass and says “boy, I wish I could paint like that”.  Equal are the times that a person would walk away from a conversation with John and say, “boy I wish I was more like that”.

Blessed with his grandmother’s artistic spirit, his grandfather’s practical excellence, his mother’s saintly soul and his father’s brilliance, John Burhani was a perfect storm of beauty.  There will be no obligatory “he lived his life to the fullest” here.  While that is a true statement, it is a crime that John Burhani was taken from this earth when he was.  This was a guy that earned the right to experience greatness.  This is a guy that could easily teach passionate people about passion.  This was a guy that was simply above any petty bickering or inherent drama.  Simply stated, this was an original masterpiece.

The John Burhani Memorial Arts Fund was established to continue the life and legacy of a once-in-a-lifetime guy.  The upcoming event “It’s Always Summer Somewhere” Dueling Pianos and Silent Auction on Friday September 28th at Madrigrano Marina Shores helps fund this necessary cause.  Necessary because John Burhani left such an impression on this community that his name and his work and his spirit should be available to everyone.  Necessary because the man was the embodiment of creativity and passion with demand far outweighing supply for those character traits.  Necessary because John was KTown through and through.  He had been all over the world and experienced everything one reads in a book or finds on the web, yet Kenosha, WI was always home.  Necessary because he was and will forever be an original masterpiece.

For more information about the upcoming event and the John Burhani Memorial Arts Fund, please contact


A Sailor’s Wind

A Sailor’s Wind, his breath of life

A Sailors Wind, his second wife

A Sailor’s Wind, to wash away

A Sailor’s Wind, to end the day


A Sailor’s Wind, defines the man

A Sailor’s Wind, his helping hand

A Sailor’s Wind, both firm and fair

A Sailor’s Wind, his one beware


A Sailor’s Wind, from past the sky

A Sailor’s Wind, til the last goodbye

And when no time, is left to roam

A Sailor’s Wind, will take him home