my grandfather’s amazing life

Ok, so this is not a poem (it’s technically from the obit that I helped my uncle edit). But, I feel like posting it anyhow. I just want the whole world to get a small taste of what I’m trying to live up to….////

Charles (Chuck) F. Burrows was born August 15, 1915 in Cleveland, Ohio, to his parents Ethel M. and Harry O. Burrows of Shaker Heights. He graduated from Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland with a BS in Metallurgical Engineering in 1937 and a Masters Degree in Metallurgical Engineering in 1939. He was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity.

Thanks to a fortuitous trip to Baltimore, Chuck found the Glenn L Martin Company. The rapidly growing aircraft company was seeking young engineers and offered to hire Chuck on the spot. He started work there in December 1939 and watched the company grow to over 50,000 employees during the war and then downsize to 600 before he retired. Chuck spent a combined total of 45 years with the Martin Company, most of which was spent in the AMT (Advanced Manufacturing Lab). He retired from what was then called Martin Marietta in 1984.

During part of his career with the Glenn L. Martin Company, he worked at the Omaha, Nebraska plant from 1941-1945. There he worked on the Enola Gay, the B-29 Bomber that dropped the first atomic bomb during WWII. He led a team to structurally test the bomb carrier assembly on the plane and had no idea at the time it was for an atomic bomb. At one point, he almost lost his life when a window exploded out of a B-29 during a pressure test, missing him by inches.

One of Chuck’s most notable achievements was the Granting of Patent for the Martin Hard Coating Process, which is still in use today.

Martin Hard Coating is a non-metallic oxide resistant coating applied to aluminum, which provides exceptional corrosion wear resistance. An excellent example of this technology can be found today in Analon Cookware. Chuck’s expertise in metal finishing techniques was world renowned and this was only one of many patents he was responsible for during his career as a metallurgist. Chuck was an avid member of and lecturer with the American Welding Society.

In the late 1950’s, Chuck started his own business, Metal Finishers, Inc., on Franklintown Road in Baltimore. His company was the first Alcoa-Certified, Martin Hard Coating licensee in Baltimore. The business grew to about 50 employees before aggressive union tactics eventually forced him out of business. With partner Bernie Bandelin, another metallurgist who worked and retired from Martin Marietta, Chuck also started B&B Services, a metals joining and consulting service.

Chuck owned his own airplane for many years, a 1940’s Ercoupe, which he flew all over the country. He had plenty of hair raising stories to tell of landing in corn fields, leaking fuel tanks, and flying without instrumentation. But this was before meeting the love of his life Florence, who gave him an ultimatum: her or the airplane…. Chuck chose wisely, and he and Flo were happily married for over 58 years.

Another major aspect of Chuck’s life was his passion for sports, in particular ice hockey and skating. He was on an ice hockey team destined for the 1940 Winter Olympics in Sapporo Japan; however, these games were cancelled due to the onset of World War II. Tough as nails, he had a hard slap shot and even stitched himself up on the sidelines in order to finish the game.

Chuck was an avid bowler in one of the oldest established men’s leagues in the country, the Drug Trade. He bowled over 50 years in that same league, with 20 of those years shared with his youngest son, Rick. Golf and tennis were other passions. He played as often as he could, especially after he retired. Chuck had an excellent short game, always giving friends and family a fit.

An active Shiner, Chuck was a member of the Waverly Lodge and a longtime member of the Boumi Temple Harem. He most often paraded in full Harem Costume. He and Flo attended all sorts of functions with the Shrine: dances, the famous Shrine Circus, and of course, the wild Shrine Conventions. Many longtime friends were made in the shrine.

Vacations with the family were cherished events that took place every summer starting out in Ocean City Maryland and eventually moving to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Playing with his grandchildren, golfing with the boys, playing horseshoes on the beach, relaxing with a newspaper, and going out to eat were Chuck’s favorite pastimes.

During his retirement, Chuck spent many hours building various woodworking projects that he enjoyed giving away at Christmas time. The family displays them proudly. He and Flo were also active members of St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church for over 50 years.

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