Robert Edward Burkhardt
July 11, 1927 – August 14, 2019
ROBERT EDWARD BURKHARDT 1927-2019
Robert Edward Burkhardt, 92, passed away in Barstow, California, on August 14.
Robert was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, July 11, 1927. He attended Albion High School in Albion, Michigan, graduating in 1944.
Burkhardt enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1945. In 1946-47, in the aftermath of World War II, Burkhardt was assigned to serve as chief clerk of the War Crimes Group in Germany. In 1951-52, during the Korean War, Burkhardt served as a forward observer for an artillery unit, flying in unarmed, single-engine spotter planes. For this hazardous duty, where he was exposed to small arms fire and other hazards, he received the Air Medal for meritorious service.
Burkhardt later recalled the dangers of serving in an active war zone. “I had a lot of chances to die in Korea and I didn’t,” he said. “The Lord was taking care of me.”
After the Korean War, Burkhardt went on to serve in the Army Reserve. In the 1960s, he was commander of the 323rd Military Police Detachment, based in Jackson, Michigan. He retired from the Army in 1974 with the rank of major.
Burkhardt married the love of his life, Lois J. Ordway, on August 31, 1947.
The couple raised three sons, Ronald, Christopher, and Douglas.
Highlights of Burkhardt’s civilian career included being the head draftsman for Michigan Gas Storage, later known as Consumers Power Company. In the 1970s, he was plant manager for Foote Hospital in Jackson.
He returned to school in the 1970s, and earned an Associate of Arts degree from Jackson Community College in Jackson, Michigan, in 1972; a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University in 1975; and a Master of Arts degree in multi-disciplinary studies from Michigan State University in 1977.
After gaining his Master’s degree, Burkhardt served as a part-time instructor at Jackson Community College, teaching geography, political science, and sociology at the college from 1978-1981.
In 1984, Burkhardt was hired as military construction Chief, Planning Branch at Fort Irwin, a large military base outside of Barstow, California. He served in this role from 1984-1995. In 1996, after retirement, Burkhardt began serving on the San Bernardino County Grand Jury, and was named jury foreman for 2004-2005.
The Lutheran Church and his faith were vital to Robert. He was an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church and later Redeemer Lutheran Church in Jackson, where Robert and his wife, Lois, were members from the late 1950s until they moved to Barstow in 1984. In Barstow, Robert and Lois became active members of Concordia Lutheran Church. Burkhardt was president of the church for several years.
After retiring in 1995, Lois and Robert embarked on a wonderful series of travel experiences, including flying in the supersonic Concorde jet between London and New York City in 1996. The couple also enjoyed several cruises on the Queen Elizabeth II in the late 1990s that took them to Hawaii, to England, and to Colombia via the Panama Canal.
Robert was preceded in death by his adoptive parents, Paul and Ella Burkhardt.
Burkhardt is survived by his wife of 72 years – Lois; three sons, Ronald Robert Burkhardt of Palm Beach, Florida; Christopher Todd Burkhardt of Fountain Valley, California, and Douglas Craig Burkhardt of White Salmon, Washington; and by granddaughter Clare Amber Burkhardt of White Salmon, Washington.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at https://www.meadcares.com for the Burkhardt family.
- Visitation Saturday, August 24, 2019
- Funeral Service Saturday, August 24, 2019
- Shelter Service Thursday, August 29, 2019