Ed Burns

Burns, Ed, former Beech Aircraft President, passed away on February 8, 2013, three weeks after his 92nd birthday. Born January 15, 1921 in Tampa, Florida to Edward Craig Burns, Sr. and Mary Wilson (Beech) Burns, he grew up among loving grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins throughout the South. Following his mother's death from pneumonia when he was 15, Ed moved to Birmingham, Alabama where he graduated from Ensley High School as class president in 1939. He moved to Wichita in 1940 to work in the sheet metal shop at Beech Aircraft Corp., a fledgling company founded eight years earlier by his uncle, Walter H. Beech. Ed entered the U.S. Navy in 1943, proudly serving his country during WWII. In 1946, on the day following his return to Wichita from his service overseas, he met the love of his life, a young war widow named Betty Price. The two were married on October 29, 1949, following his graduation from the University of Kansas. Ed returned to Beechcraft, quickly rising through the ranks and, in 1960, he and his family moved to Boulder, Colorado, where he was named Vice President of the company's aerospace division. In this role he directed the development and assembly of the life support systems for the Gemini and Apollo space programs that would culminate in man walking on the moon. In 1968, he returned to Wichita as Beech's Vice President of Operations, ultimately rising to President of the company, the last Beech family member to serve in that capacity. He and Betty entered a long and happy retirement in 1982, traveling between Wichita and vacation homes in Longboat Key, Florida and Colorado Springs, Colorado until Betty's death in 2005. He was an avid golfer and a member of St. James Episcopal Church for over 60 years. Ed spent his last years at Larksfield Place in Wichita, where he enjoyed the company of many friends, both new and life-long. He is survived by sons Robert Price (Ellen) of Boulder, Colorado and Walter Burns (Kirsty) of San Rafael, California; cousins Mary Lynn and Bill Oliver of Wichita and grandchildren Lara Price of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Michael Price of Boulder, and Elizabeth and Mack Burns of San Rafael. Memorials have been established with the University of Kansas Endowment, PO Box 928, Lawrence, KS 66044-0928, the Larksfield Place Foundation, 7373 E 29th St N., Wichita, KS 67226 and St. James Episcopal Church, 3750 E. Douglas, Wichita, KS 67208. Services are planned for 10:00 A.M. on Thursday, February 14 at St. James Episcopal Church, 3750 E. Douglas in Wichita. Downing & Lahey Mortuary East. Share tributes online at: www.dlwichita.com.

Published in The Gazette on Feb. 12, 2013