Paul Howard Burr

Paul Howard Burr, 83, of Marblehead, MA, passed away on Sunday May 18th, 2014. Born on July 26, 1931 in Norwalk, CT to John Gould Burr and Elizabeth Field Burr, Mr. Burr was the second youngest and last surviving brother of his siblings Donald, David, Jack, and Alan. Mr. Burr lived with his birth family until the age of 11, at which time his mother passed away. After her death, Mr. Burr was raised in the adoptive home of Richardson and Toni Wright in Chatham, MA, where he developed his deep lifelong love for sailing. He served 4 years in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War and attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, graduating in 1958 with a degree in engineering. He was a member of the Chi Phi fraternity.

During his early career, Mr. Burr worked as an electromechanical engineer in the fields of medical and nuclear physics research, serving as a supervising engineer for the Harvard/MIT Cambridge Electron Accelerator from 1958-65 and Director of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Medical Cyclotron Laboratory from 1965-68. His professional affiliation with MIT continued as Research Affiliate to the School of Engineering and Institute Secretary from 1968-78. In later years, Mr. Burr worked as a self-employed consultant and contractor in a range of applications from yacht and home renovation to landscape and product design.
Mr. Burr was an expert craftsman, sailor, gardener, and cook, and published the sailboat cookbook and memoir ‘Tous Les Gouts de la Mer’ while living out his retirement in Marblehead, MA. He is survived by his daughters Josephine and Hannah, his son-in-law Andrew Innes, his grandchildren Eamon and Margaret Innes, and his former wife Anne Emerson. Paul was a poet and a scholar to the end, and both spoke and wrote with a tremendous flourish and wit. He will be dearly missed; the best of him will continue to live on in those he knew and loved.
A Memorial Service will be held for Paul on Friday, May 30, 2014 at 1:00 pm in St. Michael’s Church, 26 Pleasant St., Marblehead, MA 01945. All are welcome to attend.
A photo celebration of Paul’s life can be found and shared here:


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10 Condolences

  1. Chris burr on May 23, 2014 at 12:00 am

    Hannah, Jodi,

    Sorry for your loss. This obituary is a loving tribute. Such a diverse background. He is now at rest. The whole family finally together again.

    Much love from Connecticut

  2. kristin phillips on May 23, 2014 at 12:47 am

    Dear Jody and Hannah,
    I am so sorry for your enormous loss. I was so happy to read about all the wonderful and amazing things he accomplished in his life. Such a Beautiful obituary and remembrance of a very dear and special man.
    With love and sympathy,
    Kristin Phillips

  3. Gail Flackett on May 23, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    To Hannah and Jody,

    I am deeply moved to hear about what a special man your father was in caring and talent and contribution to the world, and what a beautiful legacy he has passed on to both of you. My deepest sympathy, Gail Flackett

  4. J. Nordberg on May 24, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Pam and I wish we could be there to support and comfort you during this time, but know that you are in our thoughts and hearts daily.

    Peace and love.

  5. Marshall Burr on May 25, 2014 at 2:47 am

    Jody and Hannah,
    I was very saddened when I got the news and regret that I didn’t act on the impulse I was experiencing, I had been thinking about him very much the last couple of weeks. I can say though that I had been able to establish contact with him in the last couple of years and we had some great conversations and shared quite a few special moments. When we would discuss the things that matter most in this world, he would inevitably bring up his girls, grand kids and family in general. I can say without a doubt that the “hours” that we shared in person reflected a very bright spot in my life that I will fondly remember with a smile.

    Love and sympathy to all of you and God bless…

  6. Mary Victoria Burr Peterson on May 25, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Dear Josephine and Hannah,
    Received the sad news of your father’s death in a phone message from my sister Sally Josephine, while staying at a hotel. I’ve been trying to find information about the service plans, ever since receiving that phone message. I was at an extended-stay hotel with my dog following a home burglary, so unable to find Chris, Don, Sissie’s, or Betty’s phone numbers.

    I feel deeply that someone from the line of your uncle John (or Jack?) should be present at the ceremony that finally reunites the brothers. I am the oldest Indiana Burr daughter and even remember when “Uncle Pebo?” spent part of a summer with our family on the farm in Aurora, Ind. where Jane Emerson was born (she is now 63.)

    My father and I spoke often and quite openly about his deep, eternal love for all the brothers, knowing that he always felt most troubled about and protective of the youngest ones.

    Will be trying to make arrangements to join folks, either in Norwalk or Marblehead, but am unable to fly or drive due to my current post-concussion symptoms.
    My prognosis is great and I should be good to travel by Thurs. or Fri. of this week and will look into train options, since I know of no one who is able to drive with me.

    My heartfelt sympathies at the loss of your awesome and amazing dad. Although you were fortunate to have him for 83 years, I know from experience that it’s always too soon for a daughter to lose her father.

    Have a blessed day,
    Mary Victoria Burr Snyder Peterson

    P.S. I think I would be called your “second cousin,” but Chris would know for sure.

  7. Louise on May 27, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    Dear Hannah and Jody, I am so, so sorry to hear about the loss of your father. It’s been 20 years, and I still miss mine.
    Hannah, I remember your dad building frames for your paintings, when you were getting ready for one of your earlier shows. This struck me as such a sweet way for a dad to be involved with his daughter’s artwork. Love and prayers to you and to everyone who loved him.

  8. Ron Fletcher on May 28, 2014 at 12:22 am

    Jodi & Hannah,

    A true sadness to lose a Renaissance man these days, yet considerable solace to know his spirit, versatility, and passions will find new expression in two Renaissance women.

    In friendship,



  9. Ralph Sweetland on June 12, 2014 at 12:56 am

    Hannah and Jody,
    We had so many wonderful years with your dad. We’ll always remember his many talents, his immense pride in you both, and his unfailing good spirits.
    Your photographic anthology beautifully captures his spirit and dedication to his
    family. He will always be very special for us. With warm regards…
    Ralph and Christina

  10. Jonathan L. Gal on June 21, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    My father, Joseph James Gal, was a friend of Paul Burr at Chi Phi fraternity at MIT. They also shared an apartment after college, before my father married & moved to New York City.

    My father passed away on April 20, 2017 at his home in Beverly Farms, MA. It appears that they had much in common, including military experience, sailing & craftsmanship.

    I am writing a biography of my father and would be interested to connect with any descendants of Paul Burr who might like to share stories and remembrances.

    My father’s obiturary is here:

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