Past Recipients

2010 - Kara Bobka and Trevor Bobka

The Robert J. and Laurajane Burda Memorial Award

Robert J. Burda and Laurajane Lovejoy were married on November 25, 1951. Although they had no children of their own, they were dedicated to the youth of Bellaire through their activities as members of The First United Presbyterian Church, located on Guernsey Street. Both were lifelong residents of the community, and were committed to the education and moral development of the young people of Bellaire, Ohio. They were avid fans of the Bellaire Big Reds, and were always a part of the Big Red “faithful” in the stands during football season. The couple also enjoyed traveling throughout North America. 


Robert J. Burda was born on July 29, 1920, in Bellaire, Ohio. He was the fourth of six children born to Rudolph and Rosa Burda. He entered first grade Indian Run Elementary School, then was educated at Central School. He entered Bellaire High School and graduated with the class of 1940. He worked at the Imperial Glass factory for a short time before enlisting in the United States Navy in July 1942. He served in the Mediterranean and Pacific theaters of World War II, and was honorably discharged in 1945 as a Motor Machinist Mate Second Class. After his discharge, Mr. Burda returned to work at the Imperial Glass factory for a short time before accepting a position at the Tidd Plant in Brilliant, Ohio. He started as a laborer, and through additional study and hard work, he became an operating engineer and later, a supervisor. He worked at this plant nearly 40 years before retiring in 1982. He enjoyed woodworking, machines of all kinds, and gardening. He was most active in church activities where he served as a church Elder of the First United Presbyterian Church. He died in July of 1994, a lifelong resident of the community in which he was born.


His wife Laurajane Burda was also born in Bellaire, Ohio, on December 22, 1917, the youngest of three daughters born to Earl and Nelle Lovejoy. She entered first grade at the Rose Hill Elementary School, and was then educated at Central School. She graduated from Bellaire High School in 1935. Upon her graduation, she accepted a position at Sands Electric Company of Wheeling, West Virginia, as a bookkeeper. She worked with this company for more than 60 years before her retirement in 1998. Laurajane was also very active, along with her husband Robert, in the First United Presbyterian Church. She dedicated her time to the Indian Run Mission, and taught classes for the Junior High School girls at the Mission. She was a sponsor of the Youth Group at the Church, a member of the Choir, an Elder and a Trustee of the Church Board. In her private time, Laurajane enjoyed working in her flower gardens at home. Laurajane died in January of 2007.


The memorial award has been made in their memory by an anonymous donor, with the hope that Robert and Laurajane’s goal of educating the youth of the community will be continued by helping to purchase books for student’s attending a technical college.



Guidelines for the Burda Award

Applications for the award are maintained in the Bellaire High School Guidance Office. All applications for the award must be submitted in completed form to the Guidance Office not later than March 1 to be considered for the Award to be made in May at the Bellaire High School Awards Assembly. Download the full guidelines HERE.

Remembering Robert J. and Laurajane Burda

You can remember Robert J. and Laurajane Burda by making a tax-deductible contribution to the Scholarship Fund created in their memory. Your contributions will help to preserve their memory, and assist the Endowment Fund in furthering the goal of providing financial aid to needy Bellaire graduates.

2010 Recipients