Renaissance man embraced life’s opportunities
When Milton Burkart retired in the early 1990s from the Bettis Atomic Power Plant in West Mifflin, he took undergraduate courses in neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh because he wanted to be able to understand the profession of his wife, a pediatric neurologist at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
For his 70th birthday, Mr. Burkart got a pair of in-line skates. Not long after that, he took his first downhill ski run in Vail, Colo.
“I think he just thought he was ageless,” said Mr. Burkart’s wife, Dr. Patricia Crumrine, 72. “He always said he was going to live to be 120. I just think he did not think his chronological age was a problem.”
Milton W. Burkart of Point Breeze died on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, in the Charles Morris Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Squirrel Hil, at 91. He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Mr. Burkart spent his entire career in the Bettis plant, Crumrine said, developing nuclear fuel and naval applications under Adm. Hyman G. Rickover. Crumrine said her husband couldn’t talk about his work because it was deemed classified.
Mr. Burkart was active outside his professional career.
For nearly 20 years, Mr. Burkart played in the second violin section for the Edgewood Symphony. Crumrine said Mr. Burkart had a preference for classical music, including Bach and Mozart.
When he began to suffer from the effects of Alzheimer’s, Crumrine said, Mr. Burkart last performed publicly with the symphony about three years ago, though he continued to rehearse with the orchestra for some time.
Mr. Burkart was a Democratic committee chair for the 8th Ward in Pittsburgh and was a member of the National Organization for Women.“He was very supportive of women being able to do their own thing and to move ahead in life,” Crumrine said. “He was certainly supportive of me and my career. That was something in which he believed.”
Along with his wife, Mr. Burkart is survived by: a sister, Elizabeth Ellis of Arlington Heights, Ill.; a brother, Harold Burkart of Fort Collins, Colo.; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Yvonne Burkart.
A memorial concert, performed by friends and members of the Edgewood Symphony, will be held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the Frick Fine Arts Building at the University of Pittsburgh campus in Oakland. Arrangements are through the McCabe Bros. Inc. funeral home in Shadyside.
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or email@example.com.