Tim Burst was looking forward to coming to the Culver Reunion Weekend to celebrate the Class of 1966’s 50th anniversary.
He served on the reunion planning committee. He had anonymously underwritten the cost of the capstone dinner and celebration, complete with a 10-piece band, for Saturday evening.
“He had the foresight to book (the band’s) hotel rooms five months in advance,” his old Troop A roommate Bill Latz ’66 said. “I don’t think he knew he had cancer then.”
Tim Burst passed away on April 21, three weeks shy of Reunion Weekend. Prior to his death, Latz visited with his dear friend three times over the last eight weeks. The last time was two days before he died. All Burst wanted was to be part of the celebration, Latz said.
In many ways he was. Burst selected the music for Saturday’s event, which featured songs by two of his favorite groups from Motown – the Four Tops and the Temptations. On Friday afternoon, Latz carried a large graduation portrait of Burst through the Iron Gate reenactment ceremony.
It wasn’t his original intention, Latz said. But when he saw Burst during his last visit, he saw the large Culver graduation photo. He asked Burst’s wife, Jean Mangu, if she would send him the photo. He had it matted and framed. That’s when he decided that Burst should make the walk as originally planned. He is planning to share a video of the moment with Mangu.
And Burst would have enjoyed the entire weekend, Latz added. From the American English concert on Thursday to the Iron Gate reenactment on Friday to the party Saturday night, it was “a phenomenal success. On a scale of 1-to-5, it was a 23,000.”
The alumni relations staff did a great job “every inch of the way,” he added. “They were beyond terrific.”
The weekend just captured Tim Burst’s spirit. And he would have embraced every minute of it.
“He still had his riding boots in his office,” Latz said. “He was really proud to be a Culver man.”