Obituary: A. Walter Saburn Jr.
A. Walter Saburn died on Nov. 21.
Mr. Saburn was born on Aug. 10, 1922 in Syracuse, N.Y. on Tipperary Hill in the Irish section of Syracuse. He was the son of Alexander Mr. Saburner “Alec” Saburn Sr. and Mary Kelty. Mr. Saburn grew up in Somers Point, N.J. and was a graduate of Ocean City High School. Mr. Saburn was a combat veteran of World War II. He served in both the European and Asiatic Pacific Theaters as a combat engineer where he earned combat stars in both theaters. A member of the 1267th Combat Engineer Battalion, Mr. Saburn served under General George S. Patton in the 3rd Army during his European service. Having completed service in Europe, he was part of the combat engineer battalion that brought Japanese General Yamashita to justice in the mountains of Luzon, Philippines in 1945.
Upon returning from service, he enrolled in Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and graduated with a bachelor of science degree as a member of Chi Epsilon, the Civil Engineer Honorary in 1950. While there, he also earned a varsity letter as a tennis player.
In October 1950, he married Elizabeth Ann “Betty” Purcell of Troy, N.Y. Mr. Saburn worked for J.E. Greiner Corporation in Baltimore, Md. as a civil engineer and designed the bridges on the Pennsylvania Northeast extension as well as being a project engineer for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, the longest suspension bridge constructed in the world at the time. He was the lead engineer for the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel Project and met with Ole Singstad, the designer of the Holland Tunnel in New York City. Mr. Saburn and Betty moved with their two children E. Shawn and Michael A. to Darien in 1956. A licensed, professional engineer in the state of Connecticut, Mr. Saburn served as the Superintendent of Public Works of Darien from 1956 to 1988. During that time, he built roads, bridges and drainage systems for the town. A native of the South Jersey shore, he was the proud designer of the Darien’s second town beach, Weed Beach.
He and Betty were two of the founders of St. John’s Roman Catholic School which later became the site for St. Thomas More R.C. Church. He was an original member of the St. John’s lay advisory board under Rev. Michael Blanchard. He was a Little League baseball coach and Darien Junior Football League coach.
Mr. Saburn was an avid outdoorsman, inspired by his father a native French Canadian. While an avid hiker, Mr. Saburn rode in his first “century bicycle ride” (100 miles in one day) as a 50 year old. He taught himself how to downhill ski at the age of 60. Mr. Saburn continued to ski until his late 70s enjoying the free skiing of his age group. He also had a love of boating and swimming in the Sound and in Lake George where the family had a house. He also self-taught himself how to play the organ and became a painter in retirement.
He was predeceased by his beloved wife, Betty, and his sister Virginia nee Saburn Del Guidice. He is survived by his daughter, E. Shawn Palermo of Newark, N.Y., Michael A. Saburn of Darien and Timothy J. Saburn of Basking Ridge, N.J. He leaves six grandchildren, Kelley Tonra, Kristen Benne, Samantha Palermo, Matthew, Theresa and Robert Saburn. He has five great-grandchildren and was pre-deceased by a sixth. He is also survived by his brother John F. Saburn of Somers Point, N.J.
The family will receive friends at the Edward Lawrence Funeral Home, 2119 Post Road, Darien on Sunday, Nov. 24 from 2 to 6 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial was held at St. John R. C. Church, 1986 Post Road, Darien on Monday, Nov. 25, at 10 a.m.
- by The Darien Times