Dr. Lee G. Burchinal, 91, of Freedom, passed away on Tuesday, July 9, 2019 in Spencer, Indiana from respiratory failure. He was born on October 23, 1927 and raised in Altoona, PA; the son of Thomas and Mary (Garwood) Burchinal.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Dr. Donna Cowan Newbrough, his three children, Dr. Margaret Burchinal of Chapel Hill, NC; Janice O'Boyle of Lubbock, TX; and Esther Burchinal of Chelmsford, MA; three children of his deceased wife, Dr. Edith H. Grotberg: Sandra Grotberg of Chambersburg, PA; Dr. James Grotberg of Ann Arbor, MI; and Karen Weinberg of Asheville, NC; one child of his wife, Dr. Donna Cowan Newbrough: Leanne Barnett of Freedom, IN. Survivors also include 15 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren.
Dr. Burchinal was a veteran of WWII. He enlisted in the Army at age 17; later was assigned to the newly formed Air Force in which he served for two years.
Dr. Burchinal's career in the social and information sciences spanned over 50 years during which his work was pivotal in creating electronic information systems. After receiving his doctorate in sociology from the Ohio State University in 1956, he served on the faculty of Iowa State University, in management and executive positions in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, the U.S. Office of Education, and the National Science Foundation. While at the Office of Education, he was responsible for the development of the ERIC system, which quickly became a widely used database for searching the educational literature.
After retiring from government, he taught social research methods and introduction to statistics for five years at the Ahfad University for Women, in Omdurman,Sudan.While there,he became the founding editor of The Ahfad Journal: Women and Change (1984) and published Methods for Social Research in Developing Countries (Ahfad University Press, 1990), later updated, expanded and made available on a Website <srmdc.net>
In 1985, he established the SUDAN-AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION, which he directed until dissolving SAFE in 2013. SAFE delivered over 300,000 donated books, 70,000 issues of medical and scientific journals, and a variety of computers and other educational equipment and supplies to over 50 academic institutions in Sudan.
Dr. Burchinal deeply believed in the importance of education and the role education can play in transforming society. He touched the lives of many people throughout his career. He also loved travel and greatly enjoyed traveling extensively for both work and pleasure.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations made be made to either Habitat for Humanity, 3504 Grand Avenue, Ames, IA 50010 or UNICEF, 3 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017.
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