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Julian Ayres Burgess

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JULIAN AYRES BURGESS a former aerospace engineer and skilled amateur boat-builder, died June 24 at age 86. He died at his home in Old Greenwich, where he had lived since 1973. Julian was born in New York City on August 6, 1921, the younger son of W. Randolph Burgess, a banker and diplomat, and May Ayres Burgess, a pioneer in applying statistical research in the field of education. Julian attended Riverdale Country School in New York and Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts, before graduating from Brown University in 1943. During World War II, he served for 3 years in the Navy as a mine mechanism officer, including a year-long stint on a destroyer-minelayer in the Pacific. Even as a boy he enjoyed tinkering with radios, so it was natural for him to choose electronics engineering as a career; his first position was with General Electric, where he worked until 1948. A brief professional detour saw him earn his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1950 and work as an investment analyst at New York Life until 1952. In 1951, Julian married the illustrator and painter Virginia McIntyre, of Hastings-on-Hudson, NY. He joined Otis Elevator Company in 1952 to do electronics engineering on an Air Force project, as well as conduct research on improving the manufacturing of data processing equipment; later he served as plant engineer at the company's Baker-Raulang plant in Cleveland. The 1950s through 1970s saw his most creative work: In 1956, he joined Perkin Elmer, where he worked as project engineer for missile guidance systems and several NASA space programs; a decade later, in 1966, he moved to Barnes Engineering, in Stamford CT, where he designed a series of electro-optical and infrared instrumentation systems for the Navy, Army, and NASA, as well as for commercial airlines. One of his achievements was the design of an early-warning system to help pilots use infrared light to see and avoid clear air turbulence, a major hazard to air traffic and previously undetectable. He retired in 1981, but kept his other interests alive. These included serving as dock master for some years in the Shorelands community of Old Greenwich, where he and Virginia had moved in 1976; he also enjoyed managing his investment portfolio, as well as designing and building from scratch both motorboats and sailboats. This latter hobby was a lifelong passion of his, dating from 1935; his unique designs included three-hulled sailboats, known as trimarans. Julian leaves behind his wife, Virginia, and two sons: David, of Westport, CT; and Randy, of New York City and Woodstock, N.Y. Julian's elder brother, Leonard Burgess, died before him. Three cousins survive; they are Mary Ellen Burgess of New York City, Dorothy Burgess Voorhis of Mount Vernon, NY and Essex, NY, and Margaret Burgess Cammack of Essex, NY. Services and burial will be private. There will be no calling hours. The Nicholas F. Cognetta Funeral Home & Crematory, 104 Myrtle Avenue, Stamford, is handling the arrangements. www.cognetta.com
Published in GreenwichTime on June 29, 2008
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