Ralph Paul Burris, 89, of Lebanon, passed away Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, at Crown Pointe Assisted Living in Lebanon.
Ralph was born Nov. 27, 1930, in Delphi, Ind., a son of the now late Robert and Addie (Siferd) Burris.
He graduated from Adams High School in 1949. Following high school, he worked for the RCA Corp. A fifth-generation war veteran, he joined the U.S. Air Force in October 1950. While in the Air Force, Ralph was an aviation cadet at McChord Air Force Base in Washington State. He was assigned to a jet fighter interceptor squadron during the Korean War.
After the war, Ralph worked on the F3H Demon fighter jet project at McDonnell Aircraft Corp. in St. Louis and later at Douglas Aircraft Co. on the A3D Skywarrior jet bomber project in El Segundo, Calif. He also attended Santa Monica College. He returned to the Midwest for a job at Motorola Inc.’s Engineering Department and pursued his MBA at Northwestern University.
Ralph met the girl of his dreams, Marjorie, at a church picnic. The two were married on Nov. 30, 1957, at Christ Presbyterian Church in Chicago. In 1966, they moved to Lebanon. She preceded him in death on Jan. 29, 2015.
In Indiana, Ralph worked for 13 years as a full-time member of the Legion’s National Headquarters staff, where he won an American Advertising (ADDY) Award in 1980. He finished his professional career as a public affairs officer with the Department of the Army at Fort Harrison in Indianapolis, retiring in 1992.
Ralph was very active in veterans’ organizations in Los Angeles, Arlington Heights, Ill., and Lebanon. In 1967, he was elected Commander of American Legion Post 113 in Lebanon. He also served as the Legion’s veteran’s service officer. His numerous club and civic memberships include Air Force Association, Air Force Wings Club, Air Force Wings Society, Korean War Veterans Organization, American Legion, Veteran of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Indianapolis Ad Club and Indianapolis Press Club. Ralph was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Lebanon for more than 50 years, serving as a Session member, Adult Education chairperson and a Stephen Ministries leader. He was an avid supporter of animal causes. Hobbies included military history, aviation and writing.
Survivors include a sister, Lucille Zarse of Lafayette; four children, Laurie Taylor of Indianapolis, Jill (Dennis) Mort of Columbia City, Ind., Kevin (Janet) Burris of Indianapolis, and Leanne (George II) Piper of Lebanon; nine grandchildren, Derek Mort of Columbia City, Jenna Mort of Fort Wayne, Paul (Alija) Burris of Fishers, David Burris and Jonathan Burris, both of Indianapolis, Mary Piper of Oxford, Ohio, and George Piper III, Benjamin Piper and Samuel Piper, all of Lebanon; two great-grandchildren, Cooper Sarrazin and Lucy Sarrazin, both of Fort Wayne; and many nieces and nephews.
Ralph was preceded in death by his parents, his wife and two sisters, Marilyn Lind and Margaret Suiter.
Visitation will be 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 5, at First Presbyterian Church, 128 E. Main St., Lebanon, with services to follow at 4 p.m. Burial with military rites will be 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 6, at Oak Hill Cemetery in Lebanon.
Memorial contributions may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 128 E. Main St., Lebanon, IN 46052.