Joseph Burdis (1924 - 2016)

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  • "So sorry for your loss. May the peace of God be with you."
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    - Eloise Wilding
  • "Tracy, Bobbie, Kim, John, Jim, We have many fond memories..."
    - Judy and Mike Barnett
  • "Mr. Burdis you will be truly missed, may you rest in peace..."
    - Brynne Smith
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Joseph Burdis, Jr., 92 years old of Columbia, Maryland, died on Monday, August 15, 2016 in Hampstead, Maryland. Born in Pittsburgh in 1924 to Joseph and Helen (nee Bowers) Burdis, Sr., Mr. Burdis graduated from Turtle Creek High School in 1942. Upon graduation, he worked as a machinist with the Union Railroad in East Pittsburgh. He then enlisted in the Army Air Corp in October, 1942. Mr. Burdis became a Technical Sergeant, Radio Operator-Gunner on the B-17 Flying Fortress. He was stationed in Thetford, England from whence he participated in the European Campaigns over Normandy, Northern France, the Balkans as well as the eastern front. His unit of the 3rd Bombardment Division was cited by the president for its shuttle mission and was also part of the Mighty Eighth Air Force's first eastern-front mission to Russia where an oil refinery outside Berlin was bombed. Mr. Burdis's unit was part of some of the European Theatre's most important battles against Axis forces. Mr. Burdis was highly decorated and received the Distinguished Flying Cross, four Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Good Conduct Air Medal. His citation for the Distinguished Flying Cross states, "The heroic determination and disregard of personal safety displayed by Sergeant Burdis on all of these occasions reflect the highest credit upon himself and the military forces of the United States." He was inducted into the "Lucky Bastards" Club for successfully completing the required 25 missions. He went on to fly ten more missions over Europe. This was a rare accomplishment as the average B-17 crew member had a less than 30% chance of surviving any given mission. After his Honorable Discharge from the Army Air Corp, Mr. Burdis attended the University of Pittsburgh and entered the automobile industry where he worked in a multitude of roles for automobile companies including Ford Motor Company, Saab, Datsun and Toyota. Mr. Burdis moved to the Columbia, Maryland from Pittsburgh in the early 1970s where he worked for Mid-Atlantic Toyota. During the 1980s, he served as Chairman of the Board for the Anne Arundel County chapter of the American Red Cross. He retired in 1993 as the Vice President of Central Atlantic Toyota, and enjoyed many years in his home in Columbia, MD. Mr. Burdis's induction into the Hall of Valor at Soldiers' & Sailors' Memorial Hall in Pittsburgh, PA was recognized by the U.S. Senate through a motion of then Senator Santorum of Pennsylvania on October 2, 2000. Mr. Burdis was a longtime member of the Christ Memorial Presbyterian Church in Columbia. Mr. Burdis lived a life of bravery and strength and provided well for his family. He had a deep love for his wife, Blanche, and enjoyed big band music as well as spending time with his family. Mr. Burdis was preceded in death by his wife Blanche (nee Wilson) Burdis and his sons Richard John Burdis, Sr. and Joseph William Burdis. He is survived by his remaining ten children: Raymond Burdis and wife Toni; Karen Burdis, daughter-in-law; Rita Gable and husband Wayne; Ronald Burdis; Roxanne Burdis; Renee Lenart and husband Jim; John Burdis and wife Janie; Roberta Norris and husband Ken; James Burdis and wife Erin; Kimberly Woodsmall and husband Michael; and Tracy Broccolino and husband Victor. He is also survived by more than 21 grandchildren and more than 10 great-grandchildren as well as numerous nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, please contribute to the Joe and Blanche Burdis Memorial Fund for the Poor c/o Christ Memorial Presbyterian Church, 6410 Amherst Ave., Columbia, MD 21046 OR the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, P.O. Box 1992, Savannah, GA 31402, Family will receive visitors at the Witzke Funeral Homes, Inc., 5555 Twin Knolls Road, Columbia, MD from 2:00-4:00 and 6:00-8:00 on Sunday, August 21, 2016. The funeral service will be held on Monday, August 22, 2016 at 10:30 AM at Christ Memorial Presbyterian Church, 6410 Amherst Ave., Columbia, MD. Interment Crestlawn Memorial Gardens.

Published in Carroll County Times on Aug. 19, 2016
Arrangements under the direction of:
Witzke Funeral Homes, Inc.
5555 Twin Knolls Road | Columbia, MD 21045 | (410) 992-9090
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