It is with great sadness that the CRRC informs you of the passing of Larry “Lorenzo” Burch on May 26 at the age of 76.
Following is a copy of his obituary:
Lawrence Ardell Burch, AKA Lorenzo Burchielli (1939-2015) Larry “Lorenzo” Burch, completed his magnificent life on May 26, 2015, peacefully at home. He fought a valiant battle against an aggressive, rare form of cancer. He is survived by his wife, Diana; daughter, Laurye; son, Jerry; two grandchildren. His vibrant outlook on life inspired many people in a variety of areas including landfill management, recycling, protection of the Green Valley open space, gardening, various forms of art, music, travel and his Church.
Lorenzo was born in Billings, Mont., in 1939 to Gwennlyn and Vedah Burch. His career in solid waste management started soon after graduation from Washington State University with a MS in Civil Engineering. He was employed by the State of California for 14 years and was instrumental in writing regulations for the first California landfill environmental protection plan. After his state employment, he went into private consulting and ultimately was hired as the Chief Engineer for Richmond Sanitary Services where he spent 30 years. During this time, his creative ideas were used to start recycling programs and with his vision, engineering and guidance the company added capacity of the Richmond landfill for an additional 15 years. He was heavily involved during the closure of the Richmond Landfill and was most proud of his effort to add a three-mile walking and biking trail along the edge of the San Pablo Bay as part of the closure plan. The trail allows public access along the edge of the San Francisco Back Bay for a unique, pristine view.
During Lorenzo’s time with the Richmond Sanitary Service he obtained the permits for a new landfill in Fairfield. Potrero Hills Landfill (1984) is a state-of-the art landfill with a large disposal capacity for the future. During 2004-06, he led the environmental, legal and engineering team that obtained the permits for expanding the landfill to be four times larger. Lorenzo’s passion for recycling enabled many programs to be implemented to recycle concrete, wood waste and composting operations.
Lorenzo taught many classes on composting throughout the years and his passion for outdoor landscaping was paramount. In July 1995, Lorenzo and Diana were acknowledged for their hard work and recycling of unique items in their garden a July 15, 1995, Daily Republic article entitled “One man’s waste.” His creativity and engineering skills were put to use when he enticed a neighbor who was excavating for a swimming pool to bring it to his yard. These many tons of dirt reshaped Lorenzo’s front yard where he created paths and patios with the natural rocks found in the area, native plants and pallets of paving stones. His passion for art also included photography and ceramics. Not only were these appreciated by his family but he also won awards for several of these pieces at the Dixon May Fair. For three years in a row he won the 1st and 2nd prize for his whimsical ceramic pots.
He loved nature and spent many wonderful decades camping across the Western United States and Canada. His family fondly remembers backpacking trips in the rain, trips up and down the California to Washington coast and most recently, relaxing at the Canyon Creek Campground along Putah Creek. His drive to retain the beauty of Green Valley was appreciated by the Solano Land Trust and the Green Valley Land Owners Association (GVLA) where he served as active board members. He helped GVLA fight for years to protect the Rockville Trails Preserve and then worked tirelessly to help Solano Land Trust design the natural area into a park for the community. He loved the preserve and became one of the initial hiking docents. He was a common figure at the preserve and could often be seen walking along the trails carrying a shovel so he could move rocks or to pull weeds as he hiked. His vision for Rockville Trails will be just one of the many legacies that he leaves behind.
His love for adventure included traveling the world. In 2006, Lorenzo and Diana embarked on a 100-plus-day cruise around the world. They visited 39 counties and shared countless adventures. His love of photography was evident by the 7000-plus pictures he shot on the cruise. This was the starting point for many other exotic cruises. One of his favorite spots was Maui where he and Diana spent many vacations reading, relaxing, hiking and snorkeling.
Early in his life, he played trumpet as part of his parent’s band in Spokane. Later he became an accomplished piano player and loved to share his music. He was a member of the Green Valley County Club where he volunteered to play piano on Wednesday family dinner nights for more than 10 years. Music was a large part of his life and he played daily. On camping trips, he drew others into the campsite with his beautiful music played on a portable keyboard. He also played guitar and took up ukulele to play with family members. His rhythm transcended to the dance floor where he and Diana were a joy to watch.
Lorenzo was an active member of the Napa Valley Center for Spiritual Living and his love of life was appreciated by the members. Affectionately known as the “Church Guy,” he was a generous giver, working to beautify the gardens and grounds. He loved to play piano before each service and shared beautiful videos created of pictures he collected from his various travels. He always had a smile on his face and a warm open heart.
Most of all he cherished his family. His love for Diana was epic and they had a wonderful life together for more than 36 years. His love of music was shared by his brother, Tom Burch. His love of nature was shared with his daughter, Laurye and son-in-law, Jeff Brownfield. His work ethic and drive was adopted by his son, Jerry Burch. He spent many years with his grandchildren Brit and Austin Gage, exploring nature trails all over California.
He lived his life with integrity, passion and humor. All who worked or played with him would describe him as a man of high character, always looking for ways to make things better. He loved the environment and used his intelligence and creativity to improve the earth whenever possible. He was loyal to his family and friends and always had a kind word and smile. He loved and was loved by his extended family. He will be missed by all.
His ultimate recycling act was the donation of his body for the benefit of others. Contributions may be made in his honor to his church, Napa Valley Center for Spiritual Living <http://www.nvcsl.org> or Solano Land Trust <http://www.solanolandtrust.org> . The Solano Land Trust plans to honor him for his dedication to Rockville Trails when they open the Preserve to the public (planned for 2017).
A celebration of life will be held at 1:30 p.m. on July 26, 2015, at Napa Valley Center for Spiritual Living, 1249 Coombs St, Napa, Calif. Hawaiian attire suggested. Please keep the Burch family in your thoughts and prayers.
For more information, visit www.crrcstate.org.