Some enchanted evening in October 1968, a young biochemist and a young Marine officer saw each other across a crowded room at a trade show for ski equipment. The following August, Kay Terry and Mike Burkhart were married in Martinsburg, W.Va. It has been a good ride since.
Kay’s accomplishments as a biochemist were substantial. In cooperation with an electrical engineer, she built a machine that used the principles of bioluminescence. NASA bought the machine and it is now on Mars. She invented a fungicide for jet fuels that saved airlines millions of dollars. She also did work on Baltimore’s sanitation system and spent a brief period as a corporate spy.
Shortly after the wedding, Mike finished flight school and dragged his new wife to California where he honed his skills as a helicopter pilot. After that, he left her for a year for deployment to WESTPAC, first to Okinawa and then Vietnam.
While Mike was deployed, Kay underwent training as a medical technologist. Two years later, the couple spent a month in Europe, mostly on the taxpayers’ dime (they thank you very much) and getting to know the ambassador to Italy.
Mike’s twilight tour as an active-duty Marine was his favorite one, as an instructor pilot for the Navy in Pensacola, Fla.
Following his Marine Corps career, Mike went to medical school and became a family doctor, and later an emergency room specialist. Kay’s career as a military spouse wasn’t over, however. While in medical school, Mike joined the West Virginia Army National Guard to help pay expenses. He liked it, made great friends and wound up as a retired Army officer.
Somewhere in there, Kay and Mike found the time to rear two fine children.
Son Jeff is a successful attorney in the state of Washington. Sadly, son John was lost in 2009 during the swine flu epidemic.
A few years after moving to Delaware, Kay started her third successful career as a realtor and real estate speculator.
Kay retired in 2016 and Mike hung up his stethoscope in 2011. Near the end of August, Kay and Mike intend to sign up for another 50 years.