comscore William ‘Burl’ Burlingame, author, historian, writer, dies at 66
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William ‘Burl’ Burlingame, author, historian, writer, dies at 66

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    Burl Burlingame showed 3-year-old Hunter Lopez some of the planes that flew during WWI at the Veterans Day weekend annual model show at the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park on Nov. 10. Burlingame, a newspaperman for more than 35 years, died today.

William G. “Burl” Burlingame — author, historian and a veteran feature writer for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser — died Friday at his Kailua home. He was 66.

Burlingame had been a newspaperman for more than 35 years, most of them at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and ultimately the Star-Advertiser. He was on the staff of what was called the Today section for three decades, with a particular focus on film criticism and music. However, he also covered a wide range of subjects, including his principal expertise in World War II history.

“Burl’s contributions to the Star-Bulletin and Star-Advertiser for many years were invaluable,” said Frank Bridgewater, editor of the Star-Advertiser. “He could write a story — on just about any topic — take the photos, draw the pictures and design the layout.

“In addition, his knowledge of and contributions to historical articles and projects was unmatched.”

Burlingame left the paper in 2012 to work at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, now called the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, holding posts as a research specialist, curator and historian.

He was born in Alaska, the son of William and Connie Burlingame. His father was a World War II fighter pilot, but he and his brothers spent much of their childhood in Hawaii when their father was assigned to Hickam Air Force Base and then retired here. He was a graduate of Radford High School and the University of Missouri, where he majored in journalism and anthropology.

He was fascinated by wartime aeronautical history and immersed in the finest details of the planes themselves, becoming a skilled model-plane hobbyist, first assembling commercial kits and ultimately designing his own.

Burlingame founded his own publishing company, Pacific Monograph, specializing in historic interpretation. He wrote numerous books on everything from Hawaii’s iconic collectible milk covers to Hawaiian music. But the overwhelming majority of his titles concerned World War II history, a subject on which he was interviewed for numerous TV and film productions.

Burlingame is survived by wife Mary Poole-Burlingame, daughters Amelia and Kate, and brothers David and Dirk. Funeral arrangements are pending.

For a full story on William G. “Burl” Burlingame, read Saturday’s Star-Advertiser.

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