Today, Pepperdine alumnus Chris Koble (Seaver ’96) remembered for rest of us fellow alumnus and true American hero Thomas E. Burnett, Jr.
As a volunteer at the 9/11 Memorial Center in New York City, Chris facilitates the remembrances of the fallen victims on their birthdays. He requested and was sent a Pepperdine tassel to mark the birthday of Thomas Burnett, and he took the accompanying photo.
Burnett would have been 50 today. The tragic events of September 11, 2001, robbed him and his family of that opportunity. A passenger aboard United Flight 93, Burnett was among those aboard who bravely challenged al-Quada hijackers and prevented the aircraft from reaching the assailants’ intended target. His actions thwarted the attempt to turn the aircraft into a fourth airborne weapon and surely saved lives.
Thomas Edward Burnett, Jr., born May 29, 1963 in Minneapolis, MN, is survived by his devoted wife, Deena; his 3 beautiful daughters, Halley, Madison and Anna Clare; his parents, Tom and Beverly Burnett; his sister, Mary Margaret and her fiance, Chad Jurgens; his sister, Martha Jane and her husband David O’Brien and their children, Loren, Kathleen, Devin and Mary Margaret; and a large extended family and many friends.
Burnett is a graduate of Thomas Jefferson Senior High School, was appointed to the United States Air Force Academy, attended St. John’s University and graduated from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota where he was elected President of Alpha Kappa Psi.
At Thoratec Corporation, Tom provided leadership as senior vice president and chief operating officer. He was very proud of his company and its compassionate mission.
His spirit inspires us, and his selflessness portrays the very noblest of American values.