Airport Authority Honors Burns for 18 Years as Member
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
After 18 years as a member of the Geauga County Airport Authority, Jim Burns announced his Dec. 31 retirement Monday night and then sat down to eat some ice cream cake.
Burns, 87, was honored by the members of the board following their monthly meeting, with a plaque and the cake.
Although he has helped with a variety of projects at the airport, Burns said he hasn’t had an airplane for 15 years.
That was when his four-seater Cherokee 140 had a malfunction and crashed nose-first with Burns and his wife, Jane, aboard.
Both suffered broken bones and the plane was history.
Burns had just made an alteration to the engine, one the company had insisted was necessary, he said.
Shortly after the accident, Burns said he received a letter from the company saying the adjustment was not a good idea, as it resulted in malfunctions.
The Cherokee, which had been kept at GCA, was never replaced, Burns said.
But he has fond memories of flying around the country for 10 years.
“We were always going somewhere,” he said.
Trips to Florida were common and he also took the Cherokee to the Grand Canyon and the Bahama Islands.
After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Burns became a civilian employee in Portugal where he worked on radios at an airport.
When he came back to the U.S., he married Jane, who had been a clerk at the draft board when he enlisted.
He and Jane raised six children, who all live nearby, he said.
The family moved to Geauga County 40 years ago and the couple lives in South Russell.
As an electronics engineer, he worked for Rockwell and nine different companies on the same campus at different times, Burns said.
He retired 12 years ago.
“I’ve had a very active life,” he said Monday.