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Burton (Burt) Solomon - Obituary

A major figure in development and growth of soaring in Region 4 has been lost with the recent death of Burton Solomon. In retirement, Burt and his wife Ruth moved from Bethesda, Maryland to a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona leaving a great many friends of both in the Washington, DC area especially in the Mid-Atlantic Soaring Association (M-ASA) and Bay Soaring.

Burt Solomon served as an Army Chemical Corps officer in WWII, seeing major action in Normandy and Italy, where misdirected strafing from Air Corps P-47s put slugs and shrapnel into Burtús legs and back. He convalesced at Walter Reed Army Hospital and slowly recovered the ability to walk. It would have been understandable if no interest in flying had ever developed after such airplane-inflicted wounds - but that isnút how it turned out. Once released from active duty, Burt attended dental school at Georgetown University and married Ruth Ullman in l946. He conducted a dental practise in the Washington area. Ruth, Burt, and daughters Karen and Linda were collectively pillars of their community and particularly genial hosts to their friends for the 40-some years that Burt and Ruth maintained a home in the Washington area.

From a first glider flight in September, l971, Burt moved rapidly through ratings and became an instructor for M-ASA and the Bay Soaring commercial operation at Woodbine, Maryland within a few years of his first ride. In 1977-78 Burt and Jim Haynes were co-chairmen of a highly successful National Soaring Convention in Washington, DC. Burt was elected President of M-ASA in 1979 and served four terms, then additional years as vice-president and treasurer. Burt also served SSA as the Governor and Record Keeper for Maryland in the l980s. He further helped M-ASA as Chief CFI and Chief Towpilot.

At various times Burt owned a 1-26, a Blanik, an LS-1, and a DG-202-17. His last visit to M-ASA was in October of l997 and included flights in the Nimbus courtesy of Charlie Thurber. In Arizona, Burt gave glider instruction at Estrella and Turf Valley airports, and remained active through the summer of 1998. His last soaring flight was at Minden NV for four hours with Carl Herold in August 1998.

In late summer 1998 he was found to have a brain tumor and underwent surgery to remove it in September. The follow-up treatments of radiation and chemotherapy were extremely debilitating and the much hoped for recovery was not to be. Ruth Solomon and daughters Karen and Linda were with Burt when he passed away on March 6 at his home in Paradise Valley, Arizona.

On Wednesday, March 24 there will be services and interment for Capt. Burton Solomon, US Army retired, at 3 pm at Arlington National Cemetery. The Administration Building is the gathering point for persons attending these services. The family suggests that memorial donations to a charity or organization of your choice be considered in lieu of flowers.

By Bernard Paiewonsky

Posted: 4/1/1999


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