Samuel Joseph Burtnett

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August 9, 1983 ~ August 5, 2020

Sam Burtnett, 36, Sioux Falls, SD was received into the arms of Jesus on Wednesday, August 5th, 2020 after a long and courageous battle with depression. 

Visitation with family present will be 1-3 pm, Thursday, August 13, 2020, at Celebrate Community Church, Sioux Falls, SD, with a Celebration of Life at 3pm.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Sam’s honor.

Sam Joseph Burtnett was born on August 9th, 1983 in Ames, IA to Dennis and Mary (McNelly) Burtnett.  He was raised and attended school in Webster City, IA where he continued to live and work until 2008.  He met Jocelyn Elaine Van Liere in 2007 while she was attending college in Webster City. They were joined in marriage in 2010 in Sioux Falls, SD and had two children.

Sam (Polar Bear) Burtnett was a big guy with a big heart and was so easy to love.  He was a grateful believer in Jesus Christ.  His passion in life was talking about Jesus and sharing the gospel.  Sam served at Celebrate Church in so many ways, greeter, leading Kids ministry- he loved kids and they loved him because he was a big kid himself, and he helped with grounds and facilities.  His favorite was serving as the Baptizer, always with a huge smile as he would baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, he loved helping lead lost people to come to know Jesus.  Sam also had a passion for Celebrate Recovery, walking with those who felt lost and struggled. Sam was a natural-born leader, leading as many as possible to Christ.  For the past 3 years, Sam worked as a FedEx delivery driver for Sioux Falls Express and quickly became Madison’s favorite delivery guy. Sam was the most fun person at any gathering and was the first person to greet you with a smile and a joke.

He will be greatly missed by his children, Amery (10) and Dayton (6) Burtnett; wife, Jocelyn Burtnett; his parents, Mary Burtnett and Dennis Burtnett; brother, Dave (Jill) Burtnett; mother-in-law, Lori Van Liere; brother-in-law, Marcus Van Liere; and many Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and Friends.

Sam was preceded in death by his infant child, Sammy Jo “SJ” Burtnett, on May 5th, 2020; his grandparents Vera Mae and Duane Burtnett and Chet and Helen McNelly; his father-in-law, Mark Van Liere.

In lieu of flowers, a Memorial has been established in Sam’s honor to help with the cost of funeral arrangements and a fund for his children. If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, please call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741, or go to for additional resources.

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  • I am so sorry! I loved her a lot! She will be missed!

  • Dawn Scholtens says:

    I was Sam’s prekindergarten teacher and remember him so well. He was protective of those he cared for even at 5 years old. I enjoyed watching him grow up in the WC schools and return to work there. There was never anyone better to work with students who liked to test the boundaries. 😊
    It saddens me so much to hear of his passing. My thoughts are with all of his family.

  • Mike Schaufler says:

    Denny, Mary and family, I am at a loss for words. Please accept my heartfelt condolences. I am so sorry for your profound loss. You, and your son’s family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Shanna Neubauer says:

    My heart is aching for you. There are no words as the pain for the loss of your spouse and your child’s father. God wrap his arms around you and hold you up! I am so sorry Jocelyn. Prayers daily for you and your family.

  • Gavin Wigg says:

    I remember playing trumpet while Sam sang in the Celebrate Church choir. He was obviously enjoying making music and was approachable,,, and just a nice guy. So sad to see this. Prayers for the family: especially the kiddos. Your dad was a sincerely nice guy who had a contagious smile when I saw him.

  • Gayle Martin says:

    My heart breaks for Sams sudden passing. I remember him so fondly as a child.
    God bless his mother, Mary, my childhood friend.
    With love and respect, Gayle

  • Rex and Angie Anderson says:

    I cannot find the words to express how sorry we are for your loss. I was blessed to have known such a sweetness and a generosity of love and spirit. I will cherish those memories in a special place in my heart forever. People come and go throughout all our lives but only a few leave such a lasting impression. He was a warm hearted young man that made sharing a smile, a laugh and love of a friend so easy. He will be forever greatly missed.
    Rex and I are praying for God to bless you all and keep you all in the palm of his hand.

    Our sincerest condolences,
    Rex and Angie

  • Linda Bourne says:

    Sam and our son Jerrad were good friends growing up. Sam spent alit if time at our place. He was always a joy to be around. He will be missed by many. Our prayers to all of his family

  • Teresa Brandt says:

    I work at the Holiday store he would stop and fuel up his work truck. He was always full of fun. Told many stories. He also was there for my son who also works there. Been a customer of ours for a long time it’s almost like family. I considered Sam to be a friend. A friend I will miss seeing every day. He is in a better place I know it in my heart. RIP my friend till we meet again. My condolences to the family.

  • Shelley Groce says:

    I was shocked and so sorry to see this! Depression is a terrible ugly disease and I pray for those he’s left behind. I only knew him because he was our FedEx delivery driver and we loved joking with him when he’d come to our office. I loved his deep baritone voice and told him it reminded me of Toby Keith. He will be missed.

  • Michele Beck says:

    Sam was our “Fed Ex guy” in Madison and he always brought a smile to my face with his warm, inspiration ways! We would often chat and he always made me feel uplifted and my day better for having seen him. I will continue to pray for him and his family and for peace and comfort. This is a perfect example that a smile can hide many things and we must be kind every day, for we never know what battles someone is facing behind the smile! Deepest sympathy!

  • Michelle says:

    Mary:I hated to hear this news I know he was fighting through some difficult issues. He loved you and his children very much! I will miss his smile, laughter, bear hugs, and stories he would tell. He is missed at the FedEx Station so very much!

  • Glynis Kock says:

    Sam was our fed-ex delivery guy. Always had a smile and very friendly. Depression is such a hard disease. Prayers for his family to carry on as he would want you to. Prayers for all of you🙏🙏

  • Sarah Dykstra says:

    Sorry for loss, as I said let me know if I can do anything.

  • Katie Morales (Doolittle) says:

    Sam was like the brother I never had—All of my most cherished childhood memories have Sam in them- from being in Sunday school around the age of 4 or 5 to playing tag in pre-k….from goofing off in puppet practice to playing around in band class…we shared the same classes and field trips up until 8th grade…We went to church camp every summer and Sam was always my ally. I would go to Sunday school and youth group biweekly and off to camp every summer- and I remember I was always happy that Sam was there. I think we shared a mutual comfort in the simple fact that he’d been a part of my life ever since I can recall… this is not to say we never pissed each other off lol but we’d fight and the next time I would see him it was like it never happened. Sam and I were close because he saw me individually, aside from Kellie and that meant the world to me growing up. When I moved away, Sam was there with all of our other friends to wish me well. When I moved back for a short time in high school, I spent a lot of time with Sam. I’m so glad he got to meet my daughter when she was little- I think it was on this day he told me he wanted to name one of his kids Sammie Jo one day….I’ll never forget what he meant to me, even if they’re memories of another lifetime it seems. I’ve always been so proud that Sam was a husband and father- and elated to see his beautiful family grow over the years…the heavens gained someone so special and so dear to my heart—and we all just weren’t ready to let go so soon— but he is loved beyond measure and will continued to be loved.

  • David and Colleen Jensen says:

    Our hearts were so saddened when we heard of Sam’s passing. We are praying the love, strength, and care of our Heavenly Father will carry you through this tragic loss…and that HE will hold each of you in HIS loving arms. Prayers and love, the Jensen’s

  • Kellie Wimberley says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I grew up with Sam and, even though we lost touch over the years, I attribute many fond memories of my childhood to him. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

  • Mary .Dennis . David . God Bless you at this time. Sam loved his family dearly and always had a sense of humor like Jesus. I had a chance to have a meal with Sam and his children one day when he called me. I am so thankful for that the week before. His love will endure forever in our Hearts.

  • Patti Treibel leeds says:

    Such find memories of Sam and Nick playing ball in our back yard on Division Street, walking to school every morning heading out to Sunset only to be concerned what would sidetrack them. He will be I’m missed. The Treibel family love you all and we are praying for you❤️

  • Miss Lonna says:

    Jocelyn, Dayton and Amery, I am so sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to all of you. May God help heal your hearts and time help you to cherish your fondest memories. God’s blessings! Miss Lonna

  • Al Nies says:

    Condolences from our family to yours. I knew Sam from Celebrate Recovery. Always enjoyed visiting with him. Sorry for the loss.

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