A Legacy of Love and Care

Dr. Carl Burroughs “Burr” Field III was born February 6, 1951 in Great Falls, Mont., to Christie and Carl Field, Jr. He grew up 60 miles to the northwest, in Choteau, graduating from Choteau High School in 1969. That year he overcame an eye injury to help lead Choteau’s team to win the Montana State basketball championship. He was active in football, basketball, swimming, choir and Boy Scouts, becoming an Eagle Scout. Burr had three older sisters, Chris, Rachel, and Sharman, whom he adored, and with whom he enjoyed lifelong friendships.

Burr followed in his parents’ footsteps to Stanford University. He worked his way through college as a dining hall server, where he met the love of his life and future wife, Mary Jean Chase, in 1971. While at Stanford, Burr and Mary Jean each enjoyed studying in Germany. After three summers spent working in the Bob Marshall wilderness in Montana and graduating in 1973, Burr began his medical training at the University of Washington’s WAMI program, training in communities in Montana, Washington, and Alaska. He married Mary Jean in 1976 in Palo Alto, Calif., completed medical school in 1977, and conducted his internship in Spokane and his family medicine residency in Yakima, Wash. In 1981, Burr and Mary Jean moved to Prosser, Wash., where he joined Valley Family Medicine with Dr. Ben Sonnichsen, who would become Burr’s lifelong business partner and dear friend. Together, they joined Valley Vista Medical Group with Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic in 2005.

Burr and Mary Jean have four children: Jeannie Rose, Rachel, Carl, and Molly. The Field children realized Burr’s dream of studying abroad, becoming Rotary exchange students after high school in Thailand, India, Argentina, and Austria, respectively. Burr and Mary Jean visited each of them and hosted seven students from around the world. They were avid Mustang fans, attending football, basketball, tennis, swimming, wrestling, and soccer matches, even after their kids graduated. The Field family enjoyed precious family time together in the summers at Glacier National Park, Mont., and Cannon Beach, Ore.

Prosser's Own Dr. Field

Locally, Burr was known as Dr. Field, a genuine, warm family doctor who went the extra mile. He made house calls and prayed with patients, from welcoming new babies into the world to caring for families throughout their entire lives. Burr was an active member of the Grace Fellowship church family, which he attended with Mary Jean, and enjoyed singing with the worship team. Burr especially loved animals, from domesticating numerous stray cats to loving the family’s dogs over the years: Max, Toby, Charlie and Annie. He loved to cook good food and host people, inviting them to listen to jazz or taste a wine he knew they’d enjoy. Burr presided over many a delicious meal where old and new friends alike lingered at a table full of laughter and love. He loved to grow flowers, especially roses and lilies, and was Prosser’s Amaryllis Santa Claus, giving away thousands of potted amaryllis plants over 20 Christmases.

After being diagnosed with cancer in May 2013, Burr and Mary Jean enjoyed the sweetness of life in major events and everyday moments. They traveled to Spain and the East Coast; celebrated daughter Molly’s graduation from Stanford; launched daughter Rachel into her career as a physical therapist in Seattle; walked daughter Jeannie Rose down the aisle as she married Nate Barksdale, of New York City; and welcomed and enjoyed grandparenthood together with their darling grandson Carl Burroughs Field V, born to son Carl and daughter-in-law Christy Olsen Field, of Seattle. Burr also planted two more rounds of amaryllis bulbs, cheered the Seahawks on to a Super Bowl victory, was Grand Marshal with Mary Jean for the 2013 Prosser Mustangs Homecoming, and enjoyed his fill of pecan rolls from Junebug’s Bakery.  

Burr fought the good fight, kept the faith, and finished the race at sunrise on March 19, 2015 at age 64, surrounded by his family, after 22 months of living richly with cancer.

The Fields are overwhelmed with gratitude for the support of the Prosser community and all who have cared for the family during this time, especially Dr. Ben Sonnichsen, Dr. Jose Ness, Dr. Robert Chin, and the staff at Prosser Memorial Hospital and Heartlinks Hospice, for their incredible care; Grace Fellowship and other friends for providing meals; and our Prosser “extended family,” the Sonnichsen, Heintz, and Ellis families.

Memorial Services and a New Scholarship

The family is establishing a scholarship fund in Burr’s honor, to support rural medicine by providing scholarships to Lower Valley residents pursuing a career in health. In Burr’s own words, “My motivation in caring for people has everything to do with my faith. I try to care for people holistically because I believe God cares deeply for each person… It is the reason I came [to Prosser] and it is the reason I’m staying here.”

Burr Field’s Celebration of Life was held Saturday, March 28 at 3 pm at Prosser Bethel Church. The family continues to encourage people to share memories at www.drburrfield.org or donate to the Dr. Burr Field Scholarship Fund, online or by check to PO Box 1655, Prosser, WA 99350.

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