Burns, Robert L.
Robert Burns, of Fairfield loving husband, devoted father, and passionate aviator passed away on Monday, April 22, from heart failure. He was 82 years old. Robert was born in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, on January 16, 1931, the third of four children of Albert Burns and Alice Casson. His aptitude for mechanical and technical sciences earned him entrance to Brooklyn Technical High School in 1945. Soon after, inspired by the sight of his Uncle Jimmy Kielt in his "summer whites," he decided to become a pilot. The decision led to a lifelong passion for flight and world travel. "Captain Bob," as he was known to family and friends, joined the US Air Force in 1951 after taking courses at St. John's and Georgetown universities. He clocked thousands of miles on military jets, first on the F-94C Lockheed Starfire. He flew the F-86 for two years in the 66th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska, embarking on many exhilarating adventures. He joined United Airlines in 1957 and flew as captain of the Boeing DC-10, Boeing 727, and ultimately Boeing 747. He was proud of his flawless 37-year aviation career and record of safely transporting tens of thousands of passengers. He never tired of flying to cities all over the world, especially Tokyo and Singapore. After his mandatory pilot's retirement in 1991, he flew as a 747 engineer until1994. In 1963, during the golden era of jet travel, a friend introduced him to his future wife, Ursula, a Pan Am stewardess who had recently moved to New York from her native Germany. Robert and Ursula married in 1965 and lived in Manhattan until they moved to Westport, Connecticut, in 1967. They moved to Fairfield two years later and had two children, Michele and Thomas. Robert loved his family and was as devoted a husband and father as he was passionate about flying. His airline schedule enabled him to spend generous amounts of time at home. He enjoyed an active life, frequently walking with his dog in Brett Woods, spending time at Jennings Beach, and swimming, golfing, and playing tennis at the Patterson Club. He and his family traveled often, particularly to visit Ursula's family in Ulm, Germany. Robert is survived by his wife, Ursula, of Fairfield; his daughter, Michele, and her partner, Lori, of Seattle; his son, Thomas, and his wife, Whitney, of Orleans, Massachusetts; five young grandchildren, Jack, Julian, Ellie, Gabriel, and Chloe; his brothers Donald and John; and several members of the Casson family. A service will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Luke's Church, 84 Long Lots Road, Westport. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, which bred the German Shepherds Robert loved so much. For information or to sign an online guest register please visit www.SpearMillerFuneralHome.com