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Charlie Burrell was good with one-liners.
Known at work for both professionalism and jokes, he made employees around Seattle’s PBS station KCTS laugh during his decades as a broadcast operations supervisor.
He joked with the nurses during his cancer treatments after a 2014 diagnosis of multiple myeloma. “It’s all good,” he would say as he was poked with needles over and over again.
“He thought he was so funny,” said his wife, Diane.
Mr. Burrell died April 11 from complications related to the coronavirus, after being hospitalized for nine days. He was 78.
Born on Jan. 25, 1942, in Monroe, Louisiana, Mr. Burrell grew up in Bremerton and went to Olympic College. He served in the Army in Korea starting in 1965 before beginning work at KCTS in the late 1960s.
He met Diane in 1973 when a mutual friend introduced them, but they broke up the first time they dated. It took them a couple tries over the years before settling down in 1998, with Charlie raising Diane’s two daughters from another marriage as his own. When they finally got married in 2003, friends and family said it was about time.
At KCTS, Mr. Burrell managed the engineering side of the station, a team tasked with putting programs on the air and overseeing equipment on in-house productions. He was known for following the rules, being a strong union supporter for the technical personnel he oversaw, and striving to create equal opportunities for his employees.
He was promoted into a supervisory position at KCTS in 1978, around the same time Maureen Rossmeier was hired onto his staff. Rossmeier, who uses a wheelchair, said Mr. Burrell encouraged her professionally as both mentor and later as a close friend. Rossmeier is now the station’s engineering manager.
“I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for Charlie,” she said.
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