By Neal Putman
A memorial service for Rev. Houston Burnside, Jr. is set for Saturday, Dec. 8, at 2 p.m. at the Metropolitan Community Church where the retired pastor served for 25 years.
Burnside, 66, passed away Oct. 8 at Sharp Memorial Hospital, about a day after a one-car traffic accident on Interstate 8 near College Avenue. His van blew a tire and the van collided with the center median.
The medical examiner’s office said Tuesday the cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries. He lived in La Mesa with his husband, Bruno Giebultowski, and they had been together nearly 30 years.
Burnside is survived by Giebultowski, his stepmother Connie Burnside, his sister Sue Burnside, along with many friends from MCC. His father, Houston Burnside, Sr., passed away six months ago, and a brother died several years ago.
Giebultowski, Connie Burnside, and MCC Senior Pastor Dan Koeshall visited Houston at the hospital intensive care unit, but he did not regain consciousness after the accident.
“He is, in eternity, no longer bound by his wheelchair,” said Koeshall to MCC members.
Houston began using a wheelchair in his 20s following a medical procedure that went terribly wrong and resulted in paralysis of his legs. He adapted and used a specially equipped van he could drive by himself. He visited countless people in homes, hospitals and jails.
Houston retired from the U.S. Air Force. A ceremonial service at the Miramar National Cemetery will likely be in November, but no exact date has been set at press time.
Koeshall said he “thanked God for his life” of ministry as a staff pastor. The Dec. 8 service will be a celebration of his life.
—Neal Putnam is a local freelance writer. Reach him at email@example.com.