George Turner Burgard, born in Franklin, PA, May 12, 1915. Spent his school years in Sunbury, PA where he worked for Mr. Harry Hadden on the Sunbury Daily Item newspaper. Mr. Hadden helped him to go to college by arranging a job for George at the newspaper in Lewisburg, PA where he attended Bucknell University.
George was in the class of 1940 E where he graduated Cadet (Flight ) training at Randolph Air Field (AFB) in San Antonio. Ed. Note: Son Lee Turner Burgard finished Flight training at Randolph AFB in the class of 1969 B. From there to MacDill Field in Tampa, FL and on to the AVG.
Following his tour with the 'Flying Tigers' he supported the war effort as a pilot for American Export Lines, Inc., who were under contract to the United States Navy, flying war materials to Great Britain, Africa, and South America. In that capacity, he was a member of an ATC crew who set a transatlantic crossing speed record in the summer of 1943.
Following the War he operated an import/export business in Zurich, Switzerland. He returned to his hometown of Sunbury, PA in 1950 to become partners in a machining business which ultimately built parts for NASA and the space industry. He also formed a subsidiary company in Taiwan, ROC.
George died October 5, 1978 after a battle with cancer. The following is the eulogy I gave at my Dad's funeral in Selinsgrove, PA.:
A Sonís salute to George T. Burgard
As most of you know my Dad was a most uncommon man. This I believe was a result of the role he thought he was required to play in this life.
This role, he believed, required him to be the cornerstone of strength, wisdom and courage for those people around him. This was required because it was he that others would rely on.
This is a role that my Dad would serve well and faithfully all his active days.
As a result of this role he played we might, at times, seen him as trying to run our lives-- yet these same activities in a more personal and emotional light may well have been viewed by all of us as empathy rather than an intrusion into our privacy.
How other people viewed and responded to Dadís activities did not deter him from faithfully carrying on his role in life. The lack of acclaim for deeds well done for others did not change his concern, fairness, and courtesy. His role required this behavior.
My Dad did not deal well with things he did not understand, and many times took a negative stand on those issues. Not because he was a bad person, but rather because of his faithfulness to the role he must play in life. It is extremely difficult to be the cornerstone of strength for those around you when you donít understand the environment you find yourself working in.
This flaw is truly overshadowed by my Dadís adherence to his fair play rule in all the areas that really mattered. He maintained this fairness unselfishly, where others would have given in to temptation. He was a fair man regardless of the personal cost.
Because of his view of his role in life, Dad was a lonely man who had to rely upon his own strength for comfort. Dad only let us see this loneliness as his strength left him in his last weeks. It was then that he gave us the opportunity to finally repay him--for this weíll be forever thankful.
He left much with me as I think he did with all of us. Iím only sad that I didnít have more time to enjoy him, and the opportunity to tell him what the truly meant to me.
Tonight Iím going to toast my Dad in a tribute and acknowledgment for his faith full adherence to fairness, courtesy, and concern; and I hope you all will join me, for this would have been Dadís way:
Youíre a GOOD man George Burgard, weíll miss you very much. I love you Dad and Iíll miss you very much.