December 24, 2021
Foster S Burba, age 97 and a part of The Greatest Generation, died on December 24, 2021, at the Episcopal Church Home. Foster was born in Tuttle, Oklahoma and attended Tuttle High School. He began his college studies at Oklahoma State University but left in May 1943 to enroll in the US Army Air Corps (now the US Air Force) where he was trained as a B-17 bomber navigator and commissioned as a second lieutenant. Following the war, he returned to Oklahoma State where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering. While at the university he met and fell in love with Winifred Brown. They were married in 1946. They were a loving couple and great life partners. They had two children, Michael and Brian and were married 61 years when Winifred died in 2007. During the war Foster flew 35 missions as a B-17 bomber navigator on bombing runs attacking German military and industrial targets. For a period during the Battle of the Bulge he flew almost daily missions. During one mission his plane lost two engines, was leaking fuel, had no brakes, and crash landed at a Canadian fighter base. After flying the maximum allowed 35 missions in the European theater, he was assigned to a non-combat role in the Pacific theater flying patients back to the US for treatment. He separated from the Air Corps as a first lieutenant on December 31, 1945. After earning his degrees, he worked for two years as an instructor at Oklahoma State. During this time, he became interested in the critical role of clean drinking water in public health and its role as an essential part of the nation’s infrastructure. He began his career in drinking water in Arkansas and moved through positions of increasing responsibility in Kansas and Colorado. In 1974 he was selected as Chairman of the Board and President of the Louisville Water Company. He served in that role until his retirement in 1991. During his leadership period at Louisville Water, he strengthened and advanced the company in many ways. He gained significant savings by restructuring the company’s financial debt and prepared it financially for later earning the highest possible bond rating of AAA. During this time, the Company established best practices for infrastructure renewal and for applied water research, and the Company earned its first award for the best tasting drinking water in the United States. He mentored several future leaders in the water industry. Regulation of drinking water was switched in 1974 from the US Public Health Service to the Environmental Protection Agency. Water suppliers across the country were ill prepared to beneficially work with EPA to maximize the benefit of new regulations. Burba was instrumental in creating a coalition of water industry leaders to deal with the rising challenges from an aggressive regulatory agenda. Along with others he established an expanded water research foundation and served on its governing board. He was also instrumental in establishing a council composed of water utility executives to lead the effort for moving the industry through the new regulatory environment and to address other critical needs of the water sector. His leadership culminated in his election in 1992 as president of the American Water Works Association, an international non-profit scientific and educational association founded to improve water quality and supply and composed of over 50,000 members. Foster began volunteering at Dare to Care in 2007. There he met Shirley Whittaker and they developed a deep friendship. They married in 2009 and Foster was again blessed with a wonderful and loving person in his life. Foster and Shirley had a busy and fulfilling life together. Foster’s health began to fail in 2017 and he could no longer volunteer at Dare to Care and he was limited in other activities. Shirley and her sister Glenna cared lovingly for Foster as he lost his sight and developed other health issues. Foster was predeceased by Winifred and his brothers Virgil and Donald. He is survived by his wife Shirley, his son Michael and his wife Fung Jiao, his son Brian, grandchildren Patrick and Pheonix Burba, and sisters-in-law Glenna Whittaker and Helen Burba. Visitation will be at Broadway Baptist Church 4000 Brownsboro Road beginning Sunday January 2 at 1:30 pm followed by the funeral service in the church at 3:00 pm. A burial service with military honors will be held Monday January 3 at 10:00 am in Cave Hill Cemetery. Arrangements under the direction of Pearson's "Where Louisville Goes To Remember." Expressions of sympathy may be made to the Salvation Army or to Dare to Care. The family requests no flowers be sent.
Foster S Burba, age 97 and a part of The Greatest Generation, died on December 24, 2021, at the Episcopal Church Home. Foster was born in Tuttle, Oklahoma and attended Tuttle High School. He began his college studies at Oklahoma State University... View Obituary & Service Information
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