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1919 John 2014

John Burr

September 13, 1919 — July 25, 2014

John Thayer Burr passed peacefully in his sleep the evening of July 25, 2014 at the age of 94. He was a gentle, generous man who loved his family, friends, and helping others. He was born in North Scituate, Massachusetts on September 13, 1919, the fourth child of Isaac Tucker Burr, III and Evelyn Thayer Burr. He grew up in Needham, Mass. and attended the Charles River School, Noble & Greenough, and Harvard College as a member of the Class of 1942. He entered the submarine service in June of 1942 first in the Atlantic, as diving officer aboard the USS Dolphin, and then as watch officer on the USS Crevalle in the Pacific. He was on the Crevalle's seventh war patrol dubbed Operation Barney, a mission to enter the Sea of Japan and engage the enemy there. They came under attack by depth charge, were entangled in a barrier net until freed by a diver, and struck a corroded mine that did not detonate. He never viewed his service as particularly heroic or special, though. "We just did what we were told and trained to do." After the War, John partnered with his younger brother Carleton, and founded Burr Brothers Boats in Mattapoisett, Mass in 1947. It continues today in Marion. In 1957 he moved the family to St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands where they lived for 16 years. In 1960 he formed Virgin Islands Marine Industries (VIMI). In partnership with Robert Prann, VIMI did various projects in the Caribbean including the original development of the commercial harbor and pier in Christiansted, St. Croix, and the dredging and development of the marina at the El Conquistador Hotel in eastern Puerto Rico. With Bill Chandler he built the railway and yard at Gallows Bay. As Salt River Marine, he designed and dredged the marina at Salt River on St. Croix. In partnership with Fred Oman, he developed the residential lots in Salt River by Columbus Point. He and his wife Joan designed (with architect Oman) and had built (by Robert Scanlon) the house that is now part of the Columbus Point National Park in Salt River. In 1973 the family moved to Florida, first Coral Gables, then Captiva, finally settling in Gulf Breeze in 1991. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife of 69 years, Joan Ames Burr, son John Thayer Burr, Jr. (Anne Monteleone Burr), sister Alice Burr Spalding, and brothers, Francis Harden Burr and Carleton Burr. He is survived by his older brother I. Tucker Burr IV who turned 97 on July 27, daughter Evelyn Thayer Burr Brignoli (Richard John Brignoli d.), sons, Winthrop Ames Burr (Barbara Hertz Burr) and Timothy Fuller Burr (Marguerite Conti Burr), eight grandchildren, Winthrop Ames Brignoli, Valentine Ames Burr, Christopher Thayer Brignoli, Adam Tucker Burr, Emily Ames Burr, Lisa Conti Burr, David Thayer Burr, and Catherine Tucker Burr, and six great grandchildren, Hope Iris Brignoli, Silas Burr Friedman, Ella Frieda Burr, Quinn Burr Friedman, River Gabriel Brignoli, and Sarah Ames Brignoli. His love and constancy to his wife Joan and our entire family were exemplary hallmarks of his life, as were his generosity to family, friends in need, and philanthropic causes. He was an avid sailor and boater. He was a two term Commodore of the St. Croix Yacht Club in 1961 and 1962. He won the Virgin Islands Governor's Cup in 1962. He had a lively sense of humor and was a great conversationalist on a wide range of topics, such as politics, current events, and "philosophy." Other interests and hobbies included flying, collecting coins and books, gardening, framing paintings for his wife, and dogs. He was also an excellent athlete including as an equestrian, member of an undefeated crew team, and downhill snow skier. At Harvard he was a member of the A.D. Club and the Hasty Pudding Club. He was a member of the Pensacola Yacht Club and the Florida Commodores Association. He was also a long-term member of St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church in Gulf Breeze. After he moved to assisted living in Pensacola, he rejoined the Catholic Church. Visitation will begin at 10:00 Monday morning, August 4 at St. Ann's Catholic Church in Gulf Breeze with a funeral service at 11:00. There will be a reception immediately following at the Parish Hall. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the charity of your choice.

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