John Royden Burks, Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired), Pauls Valley, Okla., (94), passed away on November 2, 2017 in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. He was orn to Royden Elliott and Dulce Cecile (Harper) Burks on January 27, 1923 inTulsa, Oklahoma.
One of Oklahoma's most decorated combat veterans, Burks completed combat tours in WW II, Korea and Vietnam, during his over 30 years of military service. From enlistment as a private in 1942 to retirement as a regular Army colonel in 1976, Burks served in successive positions of responsibility in both staff and command.
Among his many awards and decorations, he was three times awarded the Legion of Merit. He flew 40 missions as a gunner on B-24's in the Pacific in WW II and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and seven awards of the Air Medal.
During the Korean and Vietnam wars, he was awarded four additional Air Medals, the Bronze Star, The Joint Services Commendation Medal, three awards of the Army Commendation Medal and the Army General Staff Identification Badge for Pentagon service between the wars and the Vietnamese Honor Medal for distinguished service in the Republic of Vietnam.
Additionally, while serving as the Army Senior Advisor to the State of Oklahoma during the Boren administration, he was awarded the Oklahoma Distinguished Service Medal.
Colonel Burks was recognized by his peers at Fort Sill and placed in the Field Artillery Hall of Fame in 1972.
Colonel Burks participated in 12 major campaigns, earning 12 battle stars for his combat involvement during three wars.
Burks met and married his beloved wife, Rose Marie in 1949 upon graduation from Officer Candidate School in Fort Riley, Kansas. Rose preceded him in death on October 31, 2007.
She was his mainstay and inspiration throughout his many challenging assignments. Their four children, daughter Alexa Marie and husband R. Benton Maples, Dumas, Texas, Judy Lynn and husband Gary K. Sisney, Winsor, Co., daughter, Liess Ann "Sam" and husband Mike Anderson of Oklahoma City, son John Royden Jr. and wife Lisa Marie, Pauls Valley, Okla.; 11 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren survive.
In the period following his retirement, Burks returned to Garvin County to serve in a wide variety of community positions of responsibility; as President of the Pauls Valley Kiwanis Club, President of the Pauls Valley Chamber of Commerce, Vice President of First National Bank, President of the Pauls Valley Industrial Development Association, Chairman of the Pauls Valley Industrial Development Corporation, Chairman of the Pauls Valley Planning and Zoning Commission, Chairman of the Pauls Valley Airport Authority, President of the Pauls Valley United Fund and Senior Warden of St. Timothy's Episcopal Church.
A celebration of his life is pending with Wooster Funeral Home. You may send a condolence to the family at www.woosterfuneralhomes.com.
He loved his country and his family.
Published on November 9, 2017