Charles Burlingham, Jr., known to all as Charlie, died Wednesday, April 6, 2022, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was 92 years old. Born January 6, 1930, in New York City to Charles and Cora Weir Burlingham, he attended The Buckley School and The Diller-Quaile School of Music in NYC, Brooks School in North Andover, MA, and Harvard University (’51). On August 31, 1951, he joined the Navy, ultimately to graduate from Officer Candidate School, and Anti-Submarine Warfare School. He served during the Korean War as a Navigation Officer and Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer on the USS Miller DD-535, a Fletcher-class destroyer. He was stationed in Sasebo, Japan. He traveled aboard ship, visiting ports in the Philippines, Burma, Ceylon, Bombay, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Singapore, Suez, Naples, Gibraltar, and back to Newport, about 30,000 nautical miles in all. When on leave, he traveled with shipmates to Algeria, Cherbourg, Paris and London. After the war, he returned to Boston, and to his studies, completing his law degree at Boston University in 1959, and launching a professional legal career that would span four decades. Charlie was married twice: in 1956, to Priscilla Dunphy; and in 1973, to Adair M. Storey. Together, Charlie and Adair would raise seven children: Robin and Nicholas Burlingham, and Adair’s daughters Barbara, Mary (Mimi), Susan, Eliza, and Alice Storey. He was a lover of literature, especially Shakespeare, and poetry–much of it memorized from childhood (Kipling, Keats, Shelley, Housman, Masefield, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, to name just a few). He collected stamps and coins from age 8, which sparked his lifelong love of history and a seemingly insatiable appetite for works on the British Empire and the American Civil War. He was also an accomplished musician, a formidable tennis player, an avid sports fan, and a patron of the arts. As the grandson of American impressionist J. Alden Weir, he organized and championed Weir Farm, Connecticut’s first National Historic Park, as well as the Weir Farm Art Alliance and its Artist-in-Residence program, all sited on his grandfather’s land in Wilton, Connecticut. His own watercolors reflected his love of those pastoral places where he and his brother spent many happy days. In his youth, Charlie spent summers with family at Old Black Point in Niantic, Connecticut, playing tennis, swimming in the ocean, and fishing with friends at the old crab bridge. Generous and warm, he shared his love for OBP with generations, encouraging his children and grandchildren to enjoy the same summer fun and inspiring an ever-growing OBP household to learn tennis and sing Sunday hymns. A gifted pianist, he played a vast array of music from Bach and Chopin to Gershwin, Joplin, Cole Porter, Tin Pan Alley, Gilbert & Sullivan and Broadway musicals, and popular songs from the 1930s and beyond, regaling friends and family with spontaneous renditions, providing attentive accompaniment to those who would sing along with him. He could play almost anything by ear. He formed and cherished many friendships, some lasting nine decades. He and Adair always welcomed family and friends (and their children’s friends, and grandchildren’s friends) from far and near to their homes in Cambridge and OBP. In his later years, he transcribed ancestral Weir family letters, researched genealogy, and published an endearing memoir. Master of the shaggy dog story, his deft humor and turn of phrase always made us laugh. He loved music and food, books, movies, Boston sports teams, and dogs. Charlie was loved by many. He was pre-deceased by his parents, his brother William Carlin, his wife Adair, and step-daughters Mary and Alice. He is survived by his two children and their spouses, Robin (An-yi Pan) and Nicholas (Camille L. Burlingham), step-daughters Barbara McGrath (John), Susan Frank (Jon Eder), and Eliza Anderson (Michael), his grandchildren Caroline and Colin Burlingham, and Julian and Aidan Pan, his nephew Bayard Carlin, his niece Lisa Quinn (Thomas), their daughter Jessica Larkin (Daniel) and their children, fourteen step-grandchildren, twelve step-great-grandchildren, and his beloved beagle Max. Service: Harvard Memorial Church (Cambridge, MA), Friday June 10, 2022, 11:00am. Reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Weir Farm Art Alliance, 735 Nod Hill Rd., Wilton, CT 06897 (www.weirfarmartalliance.org).
Published by Hartford Courant on May 14, 2022.