Homer Kayton Buerlein obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Homer Kayton Buerlein

March 4, 1920 - August 14, 2012

Obituary


BUERLEIN, Homer Kayton ("Hank"), peacefully departed on his Final Flight into the Wild Blue Yonder on August 14 at age 92 at Cedarfield. His studies at the College of William and Mary were interrupted by World War II, where he served with distinction in the U.S. Army Air Corps in the 391st Bomb Group as a B-26 Marauder bomber pilot. Based in England, then France, he flew 58 bomb missions, including D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge, when, on 23 Dec 44, he was shot down by F-W 190's over Germany and declared M.I.A....

BUERLEIN, Homer Kayton ("Hank"), peacefully departed on his Final Flight into the Wild Blue Yonder on August 14 at age 92 at Cedarfield. His studies at the College of William and Mary were interrupted by World War II, where he served with distinction in the U.S. Army Air Corps in the 391st Bomb Group as a B-26 Marauder bomber pilot. Based in England, then France, he flew 58 bomb missions, including D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge, when, on 23 Dec 44, he was shot down by F-W 190's over Germany and declared M.I.A. for two months. Captured, he was a P.O.W. at Stalag Luft One in Barth, Germany, until liberated by the Russians. Attaining the rank of Captain, he was awarded for his bravery the Distinguished Flying Cross, eleven awards of the Air Medal, the Purple Heart, five Battle Stars on the ETO Ribbon, the Presidential Unit Citation, the P.O.W. Medal and the Medal of the Jubilee of Liberty (by France). Even into his final days, he would gaze to clouds, identify their types and report on flying conditions.
After the war, he returned home and married his sweetheart, Dora Doughty, who preceeded him in death. He rose through various managerial positions with C & P Telephone Co. (now Verizon), retiring after 31 years as Director of Public Relations. Shortly thereafter, he co-founded The American Historical Foundation and served as Executive Vice-President. An avid, skilled, life-long writer, and a connoisseur of good writing, he authored two published books, "How to Preach More Powerful Sermons" and "WWII: When We Flew On Bombers' Wings", and he particularly enjoyed writing poetry. For nearly 60 years, he was a member of Second Presbyterian Church where he was active as an Elder, then as Elder Emeritus. As a talented and frequent public speaker, he was the moderator of the Friday Downtown Businessmens Luncheon, an institution in this city for 15 years. Personable and vivacious, and always with a quick wit and entertaining stories at hand, he was a sought-after and frequent Master of Ceremonies. His greatest performance role was as a fully costumed magician at his grandchildren's birthday parties! In his middle years, he served on the boards of the Westwood Club and the Virginia Society for the Prevention of Blindness as well as various WWII aviation associations.
He is survived by his two sons, Robert A. Buerlein (Judy) and Douglas H. Buerlein (Randi); five grandchildren (Wyndham, Austin and Ross Buerlein; and Jessie and Logan Buerlein); two great-grandchildren, Kayton and Chase; and his wife, Shirley Thornton Buerlein and her family. He was preceded in death by his wife, Dora Doughty Buerlein. The family is particularly grateful to, and thankful for, his long-term "Chief-of-Staff", Charles Patterson, and also for the staff at Cedarfield.
The family will receive friends at the Parham Chapel, Woody Funeral Home, 1771 N. Parham Rd., on Friday, August 17th from 5-7 p.m. Funeral service 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 18th, at Woody Funeral Home, with interment to follow at Westhampton Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Central Virginia Food Bank.