PRIME TIME: Old Members contributor Ann Rich Burghoff was creative

Published on Sunday, 5 November 2017 21:09
Written by Bob Montgomery

Staff Writer

During and following the years of our nation’s bicentennial in 1976, The Bristol Press ran a weekly series entitled “Builders of Bristol,” one written by local historians and family members of the “builders.”

The series was updated from time-time-time, including in 2000 and afterward under the name of The Builders of Bristol - Millennium Edition. One of these segments was on Ann Rich Burghoff and it was co-written in 2001 by her oldest son, David R. Burghoff, of North Granby, and his cousin from Bristol Jean K. Masotti. It goes as follows:

Ann Rich Burghoff (1912-1991)

“A Bristol native who became known as a dancer at an early age, Ann Rich Burghoff was the daughter of Anna (Carpenter) and Dominic Rich and the youngest of three children. The oldest son, Dr. Joseph Rich, practiced medicine in Flushing, N.Y., and brother Fred, a local carpenter, was employed by the Carpenter Construction Company for many years.

“Befriended by Mrs. Albert Rockwell as a young child, Ann taught dancing at Rockwell Park and later became a dance instructor.

“Married to L. Rodney Burghoff, the couple had two sons, David and Gary. She was a member of the Bristol Reading Club, and served as president of the Quota Club from 1948-1949. She attended local schools, graduated from Bristol High School, and attended Hillyer College (now the University of Hartford) where she received her associate’s degree.

“She was a lover of antiques and ran Village Antique Shop from 1946 to 1953 when she and her family resided on East Main Street in Forestville. A few natives might remember ‘the lollipop tree’ that stood in the front yard and provided candy for neighborhood children during various holidays.

“She is probably best known for her contributions to the Older Members Association of the Bristol Boys Club fundraising shows, having directed and choreographed a number of them in the 1940s and a final show called ‘America in ‘76’ in 1976. The shows showcased Bristol notables such as: Fred and Beanie Beach, Bill Barnfield, Ken Dennison and Anatole Fradette. Some performers went on to celebrity such as Bristol’s Jane Anglovich, who under the stage name of Gianna d’Angelo, starred in operatic performances worldwide, including the Metropolitan Opera. Oldtimers might remember a 6-year-old Gary Burghoff dressed in a tux bringing the house down with his Jimmy Durante imitations.

Gary went on to win an Emmy for his portrayal of ‘Radar’ in the TV series M*A*S*H.

“The Burghoffs lived in Wisconsin from 1960 to 1977. Ann owned and operated a gift shop called ‘The Holiday Shop’ during that time. Once again, Ann became active in the civic activities, notably her production work at the Belfry Theatre in Wisconsin which also gave birth to the careers of Paul Newman, Harrison Ford and her own son, Gary Burghoff.

“After retirement, Rodney and Ann moved to Clinton. Ever busy, Ann immersed herself in arts and crafts there, going on to win a number of awards at the state level for ceramics, flower arranging and creative writing.

“She died on Oct. 31, 1991 and was buried in her native Bristol. Her family and friends remember her as a loving creative person who shared her knowledge of dance with both young and old.”

With this biography, I thought I’d add a few of my own comments on Ann and family. Her husband passed away in 1979 and she spent her remaining eight years in a convalescent home. Ann, who is buried in West Cemetery, also left five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Son David remains in the Granby area and Gary divides his time between Connecticut and Florida.

I never knew or met Ann, but wish I had. She seems to have been quite the interesting lady. Does anyone have an Ann Burghoff story to share?

Write to Bob Montgomery, ℅ The Bristol Press, 188 Main St., Bristol, CT 06010. Call 860-973-1808 or email:

Posted in The Bristol Press, Arts, Bristol, General News on Sunday, 5 November 2017 21:09. Updated: Sunday, 5 November 2017 21:12.