Roderick Burnham (1886 - 1976)

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Managed by: Doug Robinson
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About Roderick Burnham

Roderick (August 22, 1886 – July 2, 1976), was born in Pasadena, California. He accompanied the family to Africa and learned the Northern Ndebele language. He went to Skagway, Alaska with his father, and then to a military school in France in 1900.

In 1904, he attended the University of California, Berkeley, joined the football team, but left Berkeley after a dispute with his coach. From 1905-08, he went to the University of Arizona, joined the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, played the position of running back, and became the captain of the football team.

He attended the Michigan School of Mines (now Michigan Technological University) in 1910, became a geologist, and worked for Union Oil as Manager of Lands and Foreign Exploration helping to develop the first wells in Mexico and Venezuela. He took time off from his job to serve in the U.S. Army in World War I and fought in France.

He and his father became minority owners of the Burnham Exploration Company, incorporated in 1919 by Harris Hays Hammond (the son of John Hays Hammond, Sr). In 1930, he and Paramount Pictures founder W. W. Hodkinson started the Central American Aviation Corporation, the first airline in Guatemala

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