Raised in Bruceton, he attended Lebanon’s Castle Heights Military Academy and later attended Middle Tennessee State University where he lettered in both football and basketball. Burch received his Masters Degree from George Peabody College in Nashville and did extensive work on his Ph. D at Indiana University.
A decorated US Navy fighter pilot during World War II, Mr. Burch was awarded the Navy’s Distinguished Flying Cross during action in the Pacific Theatre. He served in Naval Reserves after the war and retired as Commander following 30 years of service, where he commanded a flight squadron out of Birmingham.
Birmingham-Southern honored Coach Burch in 2004 by dedicating the Old Gym in the Sports Center Complex in his honor. A member of the BSC Sports Hall of Fame, Burch served as head men’s basketball coach from 1947-63, ranked second in all-time wins with 175. Following his 16-year coaching stint, Burch remained on staff at BSC as the director of school relations and the dean of men.
While in Birmingham, he was President of the Birmingham Park & Recreation Board, member of Chamber of Commerce Athletic Affairs Committee and a senior member of the Alabama State High School Football Officials Association.
Mr. Burch was a member of Lebanon’s First United Methodist Church where he was a volunteer and usher.
Private graveside services will be held later Wednesday at the Maplewood Cemetery in Tullahoma.
Survivors include: his wife of 66 years Helen Boyd Burch of Lebanon; sons Richard L Burch of Hendersonville; William F. Burch (Jerry) of Birmingham, Ala. and James B Burch (Therese) of Leesburg, Virginia.
Also surviving are grandchildren Charles L. Burch (Jennifer) of Atlanta, Ga., William B Burch (Jody) of Richmond, Va., Ryan Burch of Birmingham, Ala., Jessica Burch of Leesburg, Va. and Leigh Burch of Purceville, Va.; as well as seven great grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents William Johnson Burch and Edna Pendley Burch;
The family wishes to acknowledge the loving care given to him by his caregivers while he was home; Melony Cason, Edna Crawford, Jimmy Sue Johnson, Dawn Jordan, Mary Denson and Julianna Reedy.
The family requests memorial donations be made to the First United Methodist Church in Lebanon.
Sellars Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.