Donald Burkness

Donald C. Burkness, 88, a retired NSA electronic engineer who served with the U.S. Government for thirty-six years, died peacefully May 8. Mr. Burkness was born in 1925 in Minneapolis, MN. He graduated from the University of Minnesota and did graduate work at George Washington University. He served as lead navigator/bombardier on a B-17, Army Air Force, during World War II, and became a POW after being shot down during the Battle of the Bulge. He is the recipient of the Air, Purple Heart and POW Medals. In 1949, he and his wife, Margaret, moved to the Washington, D.C. area. He worked at the Army Security Agency, Arlington Hall Station and continued his career at the National Security Agency, Ft. Meade. He and his wife lived and raised their family in Silver Spring before moving to the Annapolis area in 1989. Mr. Burkness spent most of his career in R&D, designing and evaluating special purpose computers where he was a pioneer in the development of computer-aided design of large scale integrated circuit (LSI) equipments. He was the holder of several U.S. and foreign patents. He spent five years in private industry, and was a founder and president of Micro-Design, Inc., Rockville. Donald enjoyed fishing, crabbing and boating. In addition, he was a member of the Carr's Wharf Community Association, and former member of the Kiwanis Club (Mayo) and the Masonic Lodge, Kensington. A sister, Janet Strom, of Minneapolis, MN, preceded Donald in death. Survivors include his wife of 66 years, Margaret "Peggy" Burkness; two sons, Donn Burkness and the Rev. Bruce Burkness (Jan) of Emporium, PA; a daughter, Patricia Laubscher (Larry), Edgewater, and two grandchildren, Breton and Kimberly Laubscher. Friends may call from 10 to 11 a.m., followed by a service at 11 a.m., on Saturday, May 11, at St. Martin's Lutheran Church, 1120 Spa Rd., Annapolis. Interment in Arlington Cemetery will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Mary's Lutheran Church Youth Ministry, 105 Laurelwood Dr., Emporium, PA 15834. Arrangements have been made by the Kalas Funeral Home, Edgewater. An online guestbook is available at

Funeral Home

George P. Kalas Funeral Home, P.A.
2973 Solomons Island Road Edgewater, MD 21037

Published in The Capital on May 10, 2013