El Monte has in Lester C. Burdick, a citizen of sterling character, and a most conscientious public official – one who is worth of the high esteem in which he is held for his loyal and courageous service as head of the Police Department. His untiring work in behalf of the city during the years prior to, as well as since its incorporation are also deserving of recognition.
A son of Herbert A. Burdick, and El Monte pioneer, who came from sturdy New England frontiersman stock, the subject of this sketch, inherits the courageous, self-reliant traits of his forefathers. Mr. Burdick was born in Greeley County, Nebraska in 1879, and came to El Monte with his parents when he was ten years of age. Educated in the public schools of El Monte, Mr. Burdick, at the age of eighteen, engaged for himself, first in farming on a tract of land south of El Monte, which occupation he followed for two years. He next entered into the engineering and plumbing profession.
In 1906, Mr. Burdick was appointed a Deputy Constable, and the year following, he was made El Monte Township Constable, which appointment was effective until in 1910, since which time, until 1935, by election he held the office continuously. In 1912, when the City was incorporated, Mr. Burdick was appointed Chief of Police and has since, at each succeeding change of administration, been reappointed to that office. In 1935 he resigned the position of Constable, in favor of his successor, R.E. Foell, buy ably continues to serve the City in the capacity of Chief of Police. For a number of years following his election in 1910, to the office of Constable, Mr. Burdick, continued his part time occupation of plumbing, being associated in partnership in this business, first with Rufus Killian, and later with Ephraim J. Shirpser. This work also included the setting of engines and installing of pumps for irrigation purposes in the district, and was a very important trade in the community’s development, He retired from this work about 1915, to devote his entire time to his official duties.
In 1916, Mr. Burdick was married to Nellie E. Redmond, who was born in Los Angeles, and whose parents were Fred and Mae Redmond, natives of Illinois and Missouri, respectively. Mr. and Mrs. Redmond came to California in 1886. Mr. and Mrs. Burdick became the parents of one child, Doris Loraine, but were saddened by her death in 1923, at the age of five.
In 1914, when the new City water system was installed, and for some time thereafter, Mr. Burdick donated a great deal of time and work in connection with the installation of new meters. He also gave much of his time in looking after the installing of the new sewer system in 1923, and later (in 1925), he assisted in the work of paving Main Street. The conscientious and thorough manner in which he has served the city during the many years – day and night, will be long remembered by the El Monte Citizens.
Fraternally, Mr. Burdick is a member of the Elks, a Forrester and the I.O.O.F.
Source: C. D. Mayon, F. Brow, L. Stoddard, and C. Mudd; El Monte from the Pioneer Days. WPA Project No. N-5740, 1936. In record 19-187072. (California Historical Landmark No. 765: El Monte). On file at the SCCIC, CSU Fullerton.