Burr, Philip J, Age 90 of Medfield, peacefully died at home, Tuesday, March 10 2020. Beloved husband of June (Fernandes) Doucette-Burr and the late Viola (Torrisi) Burr. Loving father of Lynne Wright, Goffstown, NH and Philip Burr Jr. and wife Teresa of Franklin, MA. Brother of Herbert Burr. Step-father of Priscilla Barry & Michael, Vienna VA; Judi Doucette Teague & Peter Waldorf, MD; Clifford Doucette, Medfield, MA; Susan Muratore, Franklin, MA; Michelle Doucette, Medfield, MA; Eric Doucette & Kim, Bedford, MA, Grandfather of Brittany Burr, Marlee Burr, David Wright, Megan Barry, Caitlin Hargrove, Amanda Muratore, Ashley Muratore, Ryan Doucette, Emily Doucette & Zach Doucette. Great-Grandfather of Bella, Brayden, Jackson, Daniel, Henry, Thomas and Luke.
Phil Burr was born in Norwood, MA on April 21st to Herbert and Mary (Smythe) in 1929 and grew up in Medfield. Phil attended the Hannah Adams Pfaff High School. Phil was a three-sport varsity standout. He was a starting 3rd baseman for the varsity baseball team; a standout starter of the varsity basketball team and starting quarterback for the varsity football Warriors. He was awarded the Lions Club Trophy for All Around Athletic Ability.
As a top honor student, he graduated with the Medfield High School Class of 1947 that had 26 classmates. He had received the Harvard Book Award and was selected as one of four boys to represent Medfield High School at Boys’ State. Phil was class president sophomore and junior year and vice-president his senior year. He was also a tenor in the chorus.
Being encouraged by favorite teacher Mrs. Pederzini, Phil then attended Centre College in Kentucky in 1949 with good friend Dan Hinkley. Phil received his BS M. ED from Boston University in 1951.
When the Korean War broke out, Phil enlisted into the United States Marines and was sent over to the war zone in Korea. On the night of October 8, 1952, Lt. Phil Burr was the Platoon Commander of Company C, First Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division. Phil and his men were hunkered down in trenches with enemy shell fire all around them. Phil, encouraging his men and carrying ammunition, began to organize the defense of their outpost from the attack. Here Burr was first wounded by enemy fire. Although painfully wounded, he steadfastly refused to accept medical attention and continued to direct his men in the defense of their position. Hurled to the ground and wounded a second time by the explosion of an enemy shell, while engaged in carrying ammunition to his men, he continued to supervise the supply of ammunition until he was seriously wounded still again. Immobilized by his many wounds and evacuated to the medical aid bunker, he skillfully controlled the defense while receiving treatment from a corpsman and maintained complete charge of his unit until relieved by another officer. Phil received the Purple Heart and the Navy Cross for Heroic Action which stated: “By his indomitable courage, superb leadership and valiant fighting spirit, Lt. Burr served to inspire his men to heroic endeavor in their successful defense of the outpost.” Phil returned home from the war to recover from his wounds.
But his same commitment and sense of duty to country stayed with him as he settled into civilian life in his hometown. Phil represents one of the best examples of what Thomas Jefferson called the “Active Citizen.” First giving a long career as an educator and football coach at Melrose High School, Phil also taught at Medway HS and King Philip Regional HS. He was active in youth baseball and supported the Medfield Hockey program. He also was an avid golfer, member of the Medfield Golf League in the 70’s and played every Tuesday weather permitting until a few years ago
Phil was Medfield’s Veterans’ Agent from 1957-1971. He has been the Commander and active member with the American Legion, Beckwith Post 110 for over 50 years and a member of the AmVets. Phil served on the committee to honor those veterans from WWII who left Medfield High School and went off to war without receiving their high school diploma in 2003. For over 10 years he has gone to the West Roxbury VA to volunteer providing coffee and treats to vets after their appointments. For many years he would present the Legion Scholarship and Citizenship medals to graduating seniors.
He was elected to the Medfield School Committee and served the students and town from 1972-1981. A longtime member of the Medfield Historical Society, Phil has served as one of its Curators. Phil is a faithful town meeting participant and has also served the town as a member of the Conservation Commission until January 2019. Phil was a co-founder of the Medfield Home Committee and continue as volunteer through 2019.
Phil was an integral part of Medfield. He was inducted into the Medfield High School Hall of Fame. During his speech, he imparted to the student the importance of their civic and community service. He was a member of the Legion of Valor which cherishes the memories of the valiant deeds for which the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, and the Air Force Cross are the insignia. Phil would volunteer to present certificates to local students. The first Annual MHS Senior Gentlemen's Graduation Coffee was established in 2018 to compliment the Hannah Adams teas. In 2019 it was officially renamed the Phil Burr Senior Coffee. Phil attended and offered stories and words of wisdom
In Phil’s leisure time was an avid reader and lover of trivia. He loved spending time with family and friends and sharing stories,it was affectionately referred to as holding court. He spent time each year in Naples, FL and was able to travel to Hawaii and Europe after retirement.
In the words of Phil, God Bless.
Funeral Mass Tues March 17th 10am at St. Edward the Confessor Church, 133 Spring St Medfield. Burial to follow at Vine Lake Cemetery. Visiting hrs Mon 4-8 at the Roberts Mitchell Caruso FH, 15 Miller St Medfield. Contributions may be made in Phil's memory to the Committee to Study Memorials, Town Hall 459 Main St Medfield.