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Dr. Robert "Boomer" Burnstine

September 18, 1946 ~ February 4, 2021 (age 74)


Boomer passed away on February 4, 2021 at the age of 74.  He was an original, an advocate, a mentor, a dedicated physician and an amazing friend to so many. He was born in Elkhart, Indiana to Raymond and Elizabeth Burnstine.  It was at Elkhart High School that he became “Boomer”, nicknamed by the members of his golf team. He went on to Indiana University where he was accepted into an honors program that guaranteed his place in medical school upon his completion of three years of undergraduate study.  He graduated from Indiana University Medical School in 1972 and did his internship and residency at Akron City Hospital in Ophthalmology.  He then became a Fellow in Pediatric Ophthalmology at Columbia Presbyterian and Indiana University.  When he earned this designation in 1976, he was one of only a few in the country. 

Boomer then came back to Akron as the only Pediatric Ophthalmologist in the area.  During his thirty-nine year career at Akron Children’s Hospital he created and led the division of Pediatric Ophthalmology where he performed over 17,500 surgeries and trained many residents.  He became one of only two physicians to test a treatment for congenital nystagmus.  In 1981, he was one of only sixteen researchers worldwide to investigate the drug that became known as Botox.  He eventually parlayed this experience into another aspect of his career affectionately known as “Boomertox”.  He had practices in both Akron and Colorado where his expertise kept his patients looking forever young. 

In addition, Boomer was an avid runner and an occasional marathoner with the Pike’s Peak Marathon being one of his proudest accomplishments.  He especially loved the time he spent in Aspen with family and his many friends skiing, hiking, biking, dining and planning activities for all.  It became known as “Boomer’s Bootcamp”.

He leaves behind his wife, Jill, of forty-nine (fabulous) years, and his Favorite Daughter, Randi Scherr, son-in-law, Lee Scherr and granddaughters, Kenna and Marlo Scherr.  Boomer loved taking them all on annual Thanksgiving trips.  Each year was a different destination including Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, New York City, London and an unforgettable trip to Japan.  He loved imparting his wisdom through daily phone calls and attending his granddaughters plays and swim meets.  He is also survived by his sister, Barbara Levy, nephew, Jeff Levy (Cathy) and niece, Rhonda Plowman (Tim). He had many incredible friends and a talent for bringing people together.  He liked nothing more than including everyone.  His “Boomerisms” will not be forgotten.  He made a difference in so many lives.  He was always willing to go the extra mile for both his friends and his patients.  

In 2018 he established the Dr. Boomer and Jill Burnstine Endowed Chair in Pediatric Ophthalmology, the first endowed chair at Akron Children’s Hospital by a pediatric physician. To make a donation in Boomer’s honor, please send to:

Dr. Boomer and Jill Burnstine Endowed Chair in Pediatric Ophthalmology
Akron Children’s Hospital
One Perkins Square
Akron, OH 44308
This donation will provide a sustainable funding resource to support research studies.

A celebration of Boomer’s life will be announced at a later date.  His was truly a life well lived.


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