June 5, 2021 (La Mesa) -- Edward Gene Burr, the co-founder of EDCO Disposal Corporation and one of East County’s most generous philanthropists, passed away on May 31, 2021 at age 89 in Sharp Grossmont Hospital.
The hospital named its Burr Heart and Vascular Center after Ed Burr and his wife, Sandy, whose $5 million donation was the largest in the facility’s history.
“We believe in giving back to the community where we have been fortunate to grow our business for many years,” Ed Burr said during a dedication ceremony in 2018. He added, “Sharp Grossmont has been there for us when we needed it, so it is our honor to support a cause that has such an impact on so many of us in East County.”
The hospital foundation was one of many charitable endeavors supported by the Burrs through their many years of service to East County and the San Diego region.
In April 2021, the The California Park & Recreation Society (CPRS) honored Ed and Sandy Burr with the 2020 Champion of the Community Service Award of Excellence for their efforts to improve the quality of their community through parks and recreation. As a founding board member of the La Mesa Parks & Recreation Foundation in 1999, he helped lead the foundation in granting over $1 million toward creation of the 23-acre Junior Seau Sports Complex near Parkway Middle School. Other projects over the past two decades have included the “It’s Child Play” campaign that raised funds to replace aging playgrounds in five City of La Mesa parks. Because of the Burr’s generous support to the Foundation the new playground at Vista La Mesa Park included an EDCO recycling truck as the tot lot in their honor.
As part of the Boys and Girls Club of East County Foundation’s capital campaign, the Burr’s generously donated to the construction of both a Teen Center at Highwood Park (2004) and a new Clubhouse on school property at La Mesa Arts Academy (2013), joint projects with the Boys and Girls Club of East County, the City of La Mesa, the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District, and the LMPRF.
He was a lifetime member of La Mesa Rotary Club and also served in other charitable organizations including the San Diego Humane Society, , Helen Woodward Animal Center, San Diego Zoological Society, and Sharp Grossmont Hospital Foundation.
He also served on the board of directors for Challenge Center, a nonprofit rehabilitation and physical therapy facility in La Mesa. EDCO and the Burrs also sponsored many special events through the years held by the City of La Mesa, which honored Ed and Sandy Burr with stars on the city’s downtown walk of fame.
The Burrs entered the waste collection business in 1954 as operators of a single truck, later developing EDCO and its sister company, Burrtec Waste Industries, into one of the largest family-owned waste collection and recycling companies in the United States. The company had a commitment to environmental sustainability, including investing in a comingled recycling facility and an anaerobic digestion plant for post-consumer foods and green wastes, also operating a zero-waste fleet run on natural gas.
Ed Burr is survived by his wife of 53 years Sandra; children Diane (Larry) Snyder, Linda, and Cole (Tracy); grandchildren Lisa (Kimberlee Jones) Snyder, John (Yvette) Snyder, Kelley, and Katie (John Solek); and great-grandchildren John Cole, Vivienne, Harrison, Scarlett, and Walker.
The family recommended donations in Burr’s memory to the Challenge Center-La Mesa, Sharp Grossmont Hospital Foundation, or the San Diego Humane Society.