Harold Henry “Hank” Burnine, 87, of Higginsville, died Tuesday, January 21, 2020, at Meyer Care Center in Higginsville.
Hank was born on November 9, 1932, in Henrietta, the son of Cleatus Van and Elsie Lee (Swafford) Burnine. He was united in marriage to JoAnn Sullivan of Lexington on March 12, 1979; she preceded him in death on September 14, 2009.
Survivors include: his siblings: Terrie (Burnine) Mais, Bonnie (Burnine) Leach, and Cleatus Burnine; his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Hank was a former American football end who played two seasons in the National Football League with the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles. He was drafted by the New York Giants in the 12th round of the 1955 NFL Draft. He played college football at the University of Missouri and attended Richmond High School in Richmond, MO.
During Hank’s college career, he played for the Mizzou Tigers, from 1953 to 1955. He led the NCAA in receptions with 44 and in receiving yards with 594 his senior year. In 1955, he was named a college All-American. He recorded career totals of 75 receptions for 1,145 yards. Hank was team captain his senior year and also played in the Blue-Gray Football Classic and Senior Bowl. He won two track letters for the Tigers as a broad jumper. He was inducted into the University of Missouri Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 1993.
During Hank’s professional football career, he was selected by the New York Giants with the 140th pick in the 1955 NFL Draft. He played in one game for the Giants during the 1956 season. Hank then went on to play for the Eagles in 14 games, starting in 7, from 1956 to 1957.
Hank proudly served his country as a Sergeant in the United States Army. He worked for 33 years as a physical therapist and hospital administrator for the Veterans Administration. Hank was one of the oldest living NFL players at the time of his death. He was coached and mentored by some of the game’s greatest: Tom Landry, Vince Lombardi, and his college coach, Don Faurot.
In Lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to Hank Burnine Football Memorial Scholarship Fund. They can be left at or mailed to Thurman Funeral Home, 507 East Main Street-P.O. Box 190, Richmond, MO 64085.
Visitation with memorial services will be held on Saturday, January 25, 2020, at Thurman Funeral Home in Richmond, with visitation beginning at 2:00 P.M., with services to follow at 3:00 P.M. Military Honors will be provided by the United States Army and the Ray County Veterans. Inurnment will be held at a later date in Sunny Slope Cemetery, Richmond. Please remember to share your memories of Hank by visiting www.thurmanfuneralhome.com.