John Harlan Burkhart

On June 19, 2021, John Harlan Burkhart of Lancaster, PA, went home to his Lord and Savior.


John was born in Farmersville, PA on August 22,1932, the son of J. Harlan and Mary Rohrer Burkhart.  John is survived by 4 siblings: Marian (David--deceased) Buckwalter; Frank (Doris Metzler--deceased), Roy (Ada Stoltzfus) and Mary (David) Livengood. 


John and his wife Marilyn (Miller) planned to celebrate their 67th wedding anniversary in September 2021.  They are survived by six children: Donna (Rowland, Jr) Shank of Harrisonburg, VA; Kenneth (Joyce Thompson) of Manheim; PA; Barbara (Dennis) Freed of Akron, Pa; Lorretta (Randy) Witmer of Lancaster, PA; Steven (Cindy Miller) of Lancaster, PA and Daniel (Gina Oberholtzer) of Manheim, PA; and nineteen grandchildren and five great- grandchildren (plus one on the way!).  John joyfully anticipated being the first one of us to be able to see his stillborn great-grandson, Abel Witmer, in heaven.


John was raised in the Groffdale Mennonite Church.  Following their marriage, John and Marilyn attended Landisville Mennonite Church where John served in numerous capacities. John embodied a deep and abiding faith in Jesus Christ, a reflexive impulse to pray without ceasing, unstoppable generosity, and a deep propensity for gratitude.


John relished good food and laughter, perfected the art of a good nap and imaginative storytelling, and especially loved a good back scratch.


Raised on the family farm, “Digger John” eventually founded and operated Burkhart Excavating, Mt Joy, PA. He was known for high quality work, his honesty, integrity and fair dealing with all employees and customers. It was his pleasure to see his son Steve and grandson Michael take over his business. More recently, John enjoyed buying and trading excavating equipment, vegetable and flower gardening, soaking up the sun’s warmth, the church’s visitation ministry and reminiscing.


A memorial celebration of John’s life will be held on Saturday afternoon, June 26, 2021 at 4:00 PM at Landisville Mennonite Church, 3320 Bowman Road, Landisville, PA 17538.  There will be no public viewing.  Interment will be private.  The family will receive guests at the church on Saturday afternoon from 3:00 PM until the time of the service.  Marilyn and the family request that in lieu of flowers memorial contributions be sent to the Sharing Fund at Landisville Mennonite Church.  To express a condolence with the family or for additional information, visit