Robert J Burnham

Passed away on
February 8, 2023
Robert J. Burnham 1940-2023 Robert Burnham died peacefully on February 8, 2023, as a result of Parkinson’s Disease. Bob and his wife of 45 years, Gail Promboin, were residents of Boulder’s Frasier retirement community since 2020. Bob was born On April 3, 1940, in Stafford, CT to Charles and Edna (Allsop) Burnham. He grew up in the Springfield, MA area, graduating from Springfield Technical High School in 1958, and enrolled in the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Bob interrupted his undergraduate career to serve three years in the U.S. Army, playing French horn in a band based in Germany near the Czech border. After his Army discharge, Bob returned to UMass and earned a degree in English. He worked as a print journalist and advertising executive before returning to school to earn a master’s in teaching. Bob taught high school English in Westfield, MA for 30 years, interrupted only by a sabbatical year when he earned a master’s in journalism at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. He leaves a legacy of aging former students who stay in touch because he was “that teacher” who made a difference in their lives. Just before Bob’s sabbatical in 1975, he met the love of his life, Gail Promboin, and the rest was history. Married in 1977, Bob and Gail have enjoyed the journey of a lifetime. They moved to Boulder when Bob retired from teaching in 1999 after years of scouting to select where they wanted to grow old. They embarked on the “travel while you can still walk” plan and saw much of the world. Bob also discovered that in Colorado one can motorcycle almost all year round, so he sold his car and bought a series of motorcycles, mostly BMWs, exploring much of the West with a few like-minded “geezer bikers.” Both the travels and the motorcycling ended with Bob’s Parkinson’s diagnosis, and they moved to Frasier in 2020. Bob always enjoyed music, especially jazz, so he and Gail were frequently in the audiences at CU and various venues around Boulder. In addition to Gail, Bob leaves behind his sister, Carol Shonak, his niece, Jill Burdick, Jill’s husband Don, and their children, Nicole and Devon, all of Townsend, MA. In appreciation of the excellent and loving care Bob received at Frasier’s Summit Care, he recommends donations in his memory to the employee education assistance fund at or the humanitarian charity of your choice.