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Walter M. Burch


1931 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Walter M. Burch Obituary
July 15, 1931 - August 16, 2016 Burch, Walter M., Lt. Col., USA, Retired, "a courageous aviator and soldier, and a great engineer," passed away at age 85, on 16 August 2016 in Irvine, California, with his family lovingly holding his hands. He was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to Oscar and Urtis Burch, and raised in Artesia, New Mexico. He always wanted to fly, so he joined the New Mexico Air National Guard in 1949 while still in Artesia High School. He worked briefly in oil refineries for Frontier Natural Gas and Phillips in Artesia before joining the US Army in 1955, where he earned a dual rating to fly fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. He served stateside, in Korea, two tours in Vietnam, with CENTAG at NATO Headquarters in Germany, and commanded Biggs Army Airfield at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas, on his final assignment. He earned many decorations, including three Bronze Stars, and a Purple Heart when his helicopter was shot down in Vietnam.After 32 years in the military, he retired from the Army in 1982, and went to work in Southern California on missile systems for Ford Aerospace, Loral Aeroneutronic, and Lockheed Martin, retiring in 1997. His family and colleagues remember him as a brave pilot, an excellent researcher, and a stickler for detail, but an easy-going man; serious most of the time, but with a wonderful, dry sense of humor, a terrific smile, a warm heart, and strength of character. He was a good and honorable man, quiet, reserved, and sensitive, who passed his strong values of duty, loyalty, service, and hard work to his children. He could fix just about anything, loved tinkering in his garage, and devoured military and spy novels. Words cannot describe how beloved he is, and how much he will be missed. Walt is survived by his wife of 51 years, Edna (Kooyer); his daughters, Christa Burch, Debra Ann Manser and husband, Steve; his son, Walter M. Burch, Jr. and wife, Chaundelle; and three grandchildren, Melissa and Matt Manser, and Trenton Burch. Services will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan with burial in Ellsworth, Michigan. In lieu of flowers, please donate to in his name. You may send condolences to the family by signing the online guestbook at https://www.mkdfuneralhome.com/obituaries-guestbook
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Aug. 23, 2016
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