Saturday, February 24, 2001
Edgar Francis Burch III, formerly of Steamboat Springs, disappeared Dec. 27, 2000 when a small plane he was riding in never returned from a 20-minute flight off the Alaskan coast near Juneau. He was a certified flight instructor and was giving a biannual flight review to the plane's owner.
He served as sheriff of Routt County from 1991 to 1995 and retired from the El Paso County Sheriff's Department as its Undersheriff in 1998.
After retiring, he moved to Alaska in 1999.
Ed was born March 2, 1937, in Columbia, Va.
He graduated from Fort Lauderdale High School in 1955 and from Colorado State University in 1960 with a bachelor's degree in business. Upon graduation, he entered the service as an officer and attended Airborne, Ranger and Special Forces School.
He had served with the eighth Special Forces in Panama and the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam as well as two other tours in Vietnam.
He was awarded the Purple Heart after his tour in 1966.
Before retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 1980, he earned many decorations, including the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and numerous Vietnam Campaign and Vietnam Cross of Gallantry awards.
At 16, Ed earned his private pilot's license, and eventually his commercial license, and instructed at various times during his Army career.
He enjoyed hunting, mountain climbing and backpacking, skiing and sailing.
While in the service, he earned his black belt in Tai Kwon Do. He held the title of "Master" in Tai Kwon Do, Hapkido and Judo and taught martial arts at Colorado Mountain College.
In the 20 years he was in Steamboat, he belonged to the Optimist and Rotary clubs and was a member of the United Methodist Church.
He was preceded in death by a son, Barret, in 1984.
He is survived by his first wife, Kay Burch of Steamboat Springs; their son, Andrew, of Denver; his wife, Belinda, of Juneau, Alaska; and two sisters, Helen Bennitt of Fredricksburg, Texas, and Elise Winchester of Vero Beach, Fla.
The community is invited to attend a Celebration of Life that is being planned by his friends in Steamboat. It will take place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. March 10 at the Depot.
Donations can be made to the DARE program, c/o Routt County Sheriff's Dept., 22025 Shield Dr., Steamboat Springs, CO 80487; the Juneau Search and Rescue, SEAS, c/o Channel Dive Center, 8365 Old Dairy Rd., Juneau, AK, 99801; or the Phi Delta Theta Scholarship Fund, c/o Bill Ahlborg, 8004 S. Albion St., Littleton, CO, 80122.