Don lived 82 years to the day, born Donald Earl Burg on January 28, 1936 to Hermine and Arthur Burg at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Palm Beach, Florida. Don was a legendary storyteller with stories of growing up in West Palm Beach with pet goats and ducks, playing baseball with his older brother Roger and the neighborhood boys, BB guns, boating, water skiing, spearfishing with a homemade speargun, a treasured Lionel Train set that came from N. Y. City during WWII when toys and metal were rare and starting kindergarten early at age 4 due to his mother changing his birthday.
Don excelled at math and science and graduated from Palm Beach High in 1953. His talent in math continued at Palm Beach Junior College and the University of Florida where he graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1957. During those times he told us how there were still country roads to travel on between West Palm Beach and Gainesville. While attending college, he unfortunately lost his own father in 1955 which deeply shaped his life. He started working at the A & P Grocery store to support his family while his brother Roger completed his own degree in Mechanical Engineering at UF. Don continued to work and intern in college while Roger chipped in for his younger brother's education.
In 1966, Don met the love of his life, Paulette Vermeire, a fellow University of Florida grad, when she was 23 and he was 30 years old. Knowing they were soul mates, six months later they were engaged and married on June 24, 1967 at a beautiful church on the water in Palm Beach, Florida He always said moving to Miami, Florida in 1969 was one of the best decisions they ever made where they enjoyed a wonderful life on 84th Avenue. They soon welcomed daughter Sheri in 1971, son Danny in 1973 and blessed with daughter Nicole in 1975. Don and Paulette loved their family, their many pets and their friends. Never a camping trip or summer road trip was missed as he enjoyed traveling along the east and west coast of the country with his family & beloved mother-in-law, Gisele Vermeire. He loved social functions, meeting new people, dancing, swimming, fishing, boating, family get togethers, gardening and an avid reader. His enjoyment of life and selfless giving to others will always be remembered.
Don held a variety of engineering, consulting and management positions over 55 years including working for Rocketdyne in California, Pratt & Whitney Aircraft, American Hospital Supply and Racal-Milgo in Florida. It was while working in the aerospace industry that he was inspired to apply jet propulsion to water craft and open his own company, Air Ride Craft in the 1980's. He was consistently inventing new ideas and an outside the box thinker who figured out how to make things perform more efficiently and faster with over 50 U.S. and foreign patents in his name. His final work trip was to Dubai in 2012 at the age 76. No one was a stranger to Don for long and as his brother Roger would say, "Donnie you can talk to anyone with a pulse."
Most recently, Don lived in his lovely home on a lake with his companion Sharon Fredda in Coconut Creek, Florida. He loved watching the sunset on the lake, feeding the hungry neighborhood ducks, visits from his daughters and grandchildren and adding plants to his garden. One never to miss a party, family and friends had planned on celebrating his 82nd birthday with presents and festivities at his home the day of his passing. He is predeceased by his parents, beloved wife, Paulette, his son, Danny, his loving companion, Sharon Fredda, and his brother Roger. His memory will live on with his daughters, Sheri Burg (her spouse Joe Costa) and Nicole Wien (her husband Josh Wien), his grandchildren Maddie and Alex Wien and sister-in-law, Nancy Burg. We are all very blessed to have had Don in our lives and thank him for his kindness, his generosity and his wisdom.
A celebration of his life is planned on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at Horizon Funeral & Cremation Services, 4650 N. Federal Hwy., Lighthouse Point, FL, 33064. Visitation with family will take place at 1 pm followed by a service at 2 pm. Light food fare and refreshments will be provided. Don had a few charities he supported in life, so in lieu of flowers you can donate to one of his favorites.
I loved his smile!
Donnie was a very special man and my Mother Sharon and I were very blessed to have him in our lives. He was such a loving and caring person, and had a way of making you feel better if you were down. He was always very sweet and affectionate with my Mother and he loved to surprise her with small gifts he picked up when he was out and about. He was very thoughtful and a wonderful companion to my Mother for several years, and he won my heart too. Donnie's family is equally amazing and I'm happy we continued to stay in contact after my Mother passed and celebrate holidays together. I will remember Donnie for the caring man that he was, and will always remember the great stories he told about his life. My deepest condolences on this great loss to the family. I truly loved and looked up to him. He will be missed, but we hold the happy memories near and dear to our hearts.
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