Final Note: William Jerome (Jerry) Burgan

Life Member. Guitar.
2/3/1945 – 3/29/2021 

William Jerome (Jerry) Burgan, guitarist and founding member of the music group We Five and member of Local 47, passed away on March 29, 2021, at 76.

Jerry was born in Kansas City, Kansas. The Burgan’s moved to Pomona California where Jerry met Michael Stewart, younger brother of the Kingston Trio’s Jon Stewart. The two began playing music together in the 6th grade, on a banjo and tenor guitar.

Mike and Jerry started college together at the University of San Francisco in 1963, where they met Bob Jones. They moved back to Pomona where Pete Fullerton and Beverly Bivens joined them, forming The Ridgerunners. Their manager changed their name to We Five and they recorded the hit and Grammy nominated, “You Were On My Mind”.

Jerry met his future wife, Deborah Graf, in the Summer of 1965. She was the lead singer in the Legendaires, and a person with whom he shared his love of music. Jerry and Debbie married and relocated to San Francisco. Beverly Bivens left We Five in 1967 and Debbie was asked to join the band.

The couple toured together as We Five throughout the ’60s and continued until his passing, recording three more albums. They also performed as The Burgan’s, and the trio, Burgan & Chan.

After retiring from the pharmaceutical industry, where he worked for 22 years, Jerry released a solo album, “Reflections, Songs and Stories” in 2011, and published “Wounds to Bind” in 2014, his memoirs of the folk-rock revolution. He continued performing until the end of his life.

Jerry passed away on Monday, March 29, 2021, after a series of strokes and a paralyzing neck injury. Jerry is survived by his wife Deborah Burgan, his son Christopher Burgan and wife Jennifer Burgan, his son Jeremy Burgan and wife Courtney Burgan, and his daughter Jessica Burgan Garcia and husband Jared Garcia and their daughters Mabel and Harriet, and his sisters Kathy Adams and Mary Kay Burgan, and his brother Jeff Burgan and wife Sandy, and many nieces and nephews.