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"Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth—And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings—I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air. Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth—(excerpt from "High Flight").
While many times escaping the bonds of earth as a pilot, Eli ‘Burns’ Lundgreen took his final flight, born on the wings of angels, back to the realms of his Heavenly Father, passing peacefully through the veil at Gilbert Mercy Hospital in Gilbert, Arizona, after a brief struggle with pneumonia on December 25, 2018 at age 87.
Born August 18, 1931 to Eli Mathias and Della Manilla Brown Lundgreen in Monroe, Utah, Burns was the fifth of six children. After high school, he received his bachelor’s degree in Business Management and did post-graduate studies at the University of Utah.
A Korean War veteran, Burns earned his wings and was commissioned as a pilot in the US Air Force. During his service, he was trained in jets and flew mostly in Europe and the Middle East. After the military, he became a commercial pilot with Frontier Airlines.
Burns married Marilyn Hamal May 25, 1960 in the Salt Lake Temple. Shortly after they were married, they moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he left the airline industry and began a 20-year career with OC Tanner as a Regional Manager. Their four children were born and raised in Cincinnati as well. After retiring from OC Tanner, they moved to Santa Ana, California where they operated a small business.
As a couple they remained committed to serving faithfully in each church calling given to them. In their retirement, they returned to Salt Lake City and served three consecutive full-time missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In later years, they moved from Salt Lake City to Gilbert, Arizona, where three of their four children live. Burns served a fourth mission as an arbitrator in the worldwide genealogy name extraction program, a calling he remained committed to right to the end of his life.
He was always striving to adhere to the teachings of the Savior. He was, first and foremost, a family man in their Christ-centered home. He was instrumental in helping many in need and was someone to fall back on for guidance and help. Burns is survived by his wife, Marilyn, of 58 years, four children: Stephen Charles (Sandra), Susan Elizabeth Spear (Christopher), David Albert (Sheryl), and John Christopher (Cheri), thirteen grandchildren, three great-grandchildren.
Burns had five siblings: Dorothy Mauss (deceased), Hartley B (deceased), Mona Black (deceased), Cleo Dawn Nay (deceased), and Janet Carlston.
A funeral will be held at the Garden Park Ward, 1150 Yale Avenue, Salt Lake City, Utah 84105 on Wednesday, January 2, 2019 at 11 am, with a visiting hour from 9:45-10:45am. Friends and family are invited. Interment will be in the Salt Lake City Cemetery, with military honors. Guestbook to post messages for the family is available at HolbrookMortuary.com. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Humanitarian Aid Fund or the Missionary Fund.