Charles Vance Burnett obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Charles Vance Burnett

June 11, 1932 - June 1, 2017

Obituary


Charles Vance Burnett, Jr. (Charlie), of Woodinville, Washington., passed away on June 1, 2017. Charlie was 84.

Charlie was born in Indianapolis Indiana, in June 1932. He spent most of his formative years growing up in Tucson, Arizona. After graduating from Tucson high school in 1950, Charlie enlisted in the US Navy, becoming a Naval Corpsman, graduating first in his class while undertaking advanced training in combat medicine. After serving in the Korean War, Charlie was honorably discharged from the Navy, and he enrolled at The University of Arizona, College of Pharmacy, and graduated...

Charles Vance Burnett, Jr. (Charlie), of Woodinville, Washington., passed away on June 1, 2017. Charlie was 84.

Charlie was born in Indianapolis Indiana, in June 1932. He spent most of his formative years growing up in Tucson, Arizona. After graduating from Tucson high school in 1950, Charlie enlisted in the US Navy, becoming a Naval Corpsman, graduating first in his class while undertaking advanced training in combat medicine. After serving in the Korean War, Charlie was honorably discharged from the Navy, and he enrolled at The University of Arizona, College of Pharmacy, and graduated Cum Laude in 1959, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy.

After pharmacy school, Charlie worked in both retail and hospital pharmacies. In 1963 he went to work as a staff pharmacist for FedMart, a small retailer headquartered in San Diego that was founded by Sol Price. FedMart operated a high volume pharmacy department, and in 1970 Charlie was named Vice President of Pharmacy Operations. That same year, Charlie earned his J.D. Degree from the University of San Diego School of Law, and was admitted to the California State Bar Association.

Charlie and Barbara met while working in the pharmacy department at FedMart. They married in 1979. In 1982, after FedMart was sold, Charlie opened and operated a small chain of pharmacies (SavMart) in San Diego. In 1986, the co-founder and CEO of Costco, Jim Sinegal, whom Charlie had worked with at FedMart, asked him to come to Seattle and develop a pharmacy division for the relatively new warehouse club. Under Charlie's 26 year guidance, Costco's pharmacy presence grew to over 500 locations across the U.S. and Canada. Jim Sinegal once stated that "Costco would have not gotten into the pharmacy business were it not for Charlie." In 2006, Charlie was awarded Costco's highest honor - the "Salmon Award," to recognize his outstanding contributions and commitment to the company.

Charlie was a pioneer, leader, and legend in the pharmacy arena. In 2002, under Charlie's leadership, Costco Pharmacy was awarded "Pharmacy Chain of the Year." In 2007, Charlie was recognized by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores with the prestigious "Harold W. Pratt" Award, and in 2010, Charlie won NACDS' "Sheldon W. Fantle Lifetime Achievement Award." To this day, Charlie holds the unique honor of being the only individual to receive both of NACDS' highest honors.

Charlie was an Emeritus member of the University of Arizona National Advisory Board. In 2014, the University of Arizona presented Charlie with their highest honor - "Alumni of the Year Award" - for the prominence he attained in the pharmacy industry, his lifetime professional and personal accomplishments, and his ongoing commitment to philanthropy.

In 2004, Charlie and his wife, Barbara, founded a nonprofit organization, the Northwest Academy for Exceptional Children, later renamed Tessera. Their mission was to develop and sustain an appropriate educational, residential, and lifelong community setting for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities in honor of their daughter, Alyssa. In 2014, Tessera partnered with Seattle Children's Hospital and launched Seattle Children's Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center, in Bothell, Washington., which has been recognized nationally for its' unique and innovative programs.