James M. Burkeen was born March 3, 1938 in Watonga, Ok and entered into rest on Sunday September 6, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas. He was preceded in death by his parents Luther Burt Burkeen and Ola May Wall; sisters Eva May Burkeen, and Ruby Burkeen Elwell and his brother Melvin Burkeen.
Left to cherish his memory are his wife Maria R. Burkeen; son, James J Burkeen, Charles B Burkeen and daughter Lainie S Pollmiller. And his sister Deb Igo.
James lived on a farm outside of Greenfield, OK until he was 17 years old. The family moved to Oklahoma City for about a year and James and his cousin Lewis decided to leave home to go stay at Lewis’s brother, William Author Wall’s house. Once they got there, it became clear that William couldn’t feed the both of them, so James enlisted in the AF. He went to the First Duty Station: Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX first to complete 6 weeks of basic training, after which he completed 4 months of tech school at Rantoul AFB in Rantoul, Illinois. At Anderson AFB Quam he was a part of the 54th weather recon squadron- Military Airlift Command and Typhon Chasers for 18 months. Later, James was stationed at Laughlin AFB in Del Rio, TX where he worked as an aircraft mechanic on U2aircraft for 5 years and 3 days. Right before his next duty station, he met and married Maria R Rosas. After their marriage he was relocated to Davis Monthan AFB in Tuscan, AZ for 5 years.
On April 15 James left for Vietnam and came back 2 months later with a drone on the aircraft C-130. He spent 5 years at the Offutt AFB in Bellevue, Nebraska in the 55th recon C-135 airlift before being deployed for a secret mission, which was to combat the Russian missals. After a one-year deployment on C-135 and B52 aircrafts he relocated to Edwards AFB, where he retired after 2 years. Following retirement, they moved to Del Rio, Texas.
A chapel service will be held Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 10:00 A.M. at Sunset Memorial Oaks Funeral Home in Del Rio, Texas. He will be buried at East Mnt. Pleasant Cemetery next to his parents and his sister.