Jerry A “Dr. B” Burghout, PhD

Jerry A “Dr. B” Burghout, PhD

By Lori Kerns | Librarian

Jerry “Dr. B” Burghout was born at the height of the Great Depression to Dutch immigrants. Dr. B made the decision to join the Navy when he graduated high school. He wanted to enlist so that he could participate in the ongoing Korean War. For boot camp, he was originally slated to go to Chicago but received orders to report to Camp Elliott in California.

He was sent to school to train as a radioman and then began learning the responsibilities of a communications technician. After finishing both of these courses, he began his training in crypto repair. Dr. B’s first duty station was at Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Florida. This is where he met the love of his life, Miss Tillie Ann Sessions. Dr. B and Tillie were married and stayed in Florida for a few years until he received his next orders for Argentia, Newfoundland, where he began working with a naval security group as a cryptologist.

While stationed overseas, the couple had three children, Gerald, Ruth, and John. The family followed Dr. B to his various duty stations, which included Scotland and Spain before returning back to Jacksonville, Florida. His final orders were for Charleston, South Carolina, where he retired with 22 years of service in the U.S. Navy. During his length of service, Dr. B acquired an undergraduate degree in psychology. As a new military retiree, he decided to use the G.I. Bill to earn a master’s and a postgraduate degree in clinical psychology, including a certification in the field of forensics. In the meantime Tillie served as the breadwinner by working her way up to the quality control engineer for Zenith so that Dr. B could finish his schooling. Upon earning his PhD, he began working and served numerous significant positions to include Director of Correctional Treatment Services for the state of Florida. In this position he provided forensic services for the state and civilian attorneys pursuant to criminal justice. He has also served as the state director of a mental agency in South Carolina.

Dr. B and Tillie were happily married for 46 years before cancer took her. This is when he made the decision to move into AFRH-G. He’s been at the home for about four years where he has become involved in volunteering with administration and public affairs. Being a tour guide has become “one of the most enjoyable things” he’s done since his retirement. Doing one to two tours per week keeps him active and involved in the assistance of potential residents.  AFRH is definitely lucky to have someone like Dr. B to greet these veterans.