Finding Love During World War II: The Burrows’ Story

BY JENNY GOLDSBERRY

Beverly Marie Keate and Duane Kenneth Burrows met while they were teenagers at East High school in the 1940s. They were married soon after they graduated, which happened to be just as the United States joined World War II. The draft was looking for men born on or after January 1, 1922 or before June 30, 1924. Since Duane was born on July 27, 1922, he was drafted at the end of June, just a year after he graduated high school. When he left to fight in the war, he left behind his small family; Beverly had already given birth to a little boy. While they were apart for years, they would write letters back and forth. This situation was not new to either Beverly or Duane, because both of their fathers also served in World War I. They knew what it took to keep a family together when the world was falling apart. It would have been very normal for them because, not only had the previous generation lived through it, but also because over 60,000 Utahns enrolled in active military service in 1945. Most of their neighbors were going through the exact same thing. Most, like the Burrows, also had children at the time. The population grew by 25% that decade, according to the Utah History Encyclopedia. Many Utahns were making a great sacrifice and sending fathers of small children off to the war, just like the Burrows.

“He was always sneaking up on her in the kitchen and dancing with her.”
-Great-grandaugther MaKayka Bachman

For two years, Duane served as a staff sergeant in the Philippines. As a staff sergeant, he was in charge of squads stationed there. According to the U.S. Army Museum of the Noncommissioned Officer, this rank had just been created by Congress following World War I. Duane was one of the first few staff sergeants in the Army’s history. He was also briefly stationed in Utah’s Fort Douglas, previously known as Camp Douglas or the Fort Douglas guardhouse. During the Civil War, the fort was made out of sandstone and adobe, according to the Fort Douglas Museum. Later on, it was used as a prisoner of war camp for Germans in World War I. During Duane’s lifetime, it was mostly occupied by the Army’s ground troops. It was a convenient station near his family.

While Duane was away, Beverly modeled. She loved to dance, which made her excellent at posing for pictures. Her pictures even made their way to Hill Air Force base, where she was the pinup girl there during the war. She was a perfect model to lift the spirits of men missing their wives because she was a military wife herself.

When the war was over, the Burrows moved into a house with a farm complete with cows and chickens. Beverly still kept her love for dance, only now, her favorite hobby was dancing with her husband.

“He loved her so much,” their great-granddaughter MaKayla Bachman said. “He was always sneaking up on her in the kitchen and dancing with her.”

Eventually, they opened up a dance studio together, where they were dance instructors themselves. The studio also had a ballerina shop next door. They had two more children and travelled as much as they could together.

After being married for over 70 years, Duane passed away, and Beverly did about a year later. From their three children, they had 17 grandchildren, almost 50 great grandchildren, and almost 20 great-great grandchildren. MaKayla Bahman, Lexi Cannon, and Mo Cannon are three of their great-grandchildren still living in Syracuse today. Their legacy still lives with them.

“I love their love story,” Michelle said. “It kept the expectations really high for me.”

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