Dr. Burke Royle, a World War II aviator who became a North County dentist and flew to Baja California to treat indigent patients, died of a heart attack March 15 while vacationing in Mexico. He was 75.
Dr. Royle was visiting his favorite village on Melaque Bay, south of Puerto Vallarta, when he was stricken, said his wife, Alison Royle.
A San Diego native, he maintained homes in recent years in Borrego Springs and Del Mar.
Dr. Royle practiced dentistry from 1961 to 1972 in Solana Beach and made many volunteer flights to Baja California with the Flying Samaritans. He also offered his dental services to Indians in the jungles of Peru.
After retiring, Dr. Royle traveled to such sites as Siberia, Antarctica, South Africa and Tonga. He and his wife produced multimedia slide presentations, showing them in fund-raisers for the Anza Borrego Foundation.
Dr. Royle excelled as a swimmer at his alma mater, San Diego High School, and served as a San Diego Police Department lifeguard before joining the Army Air Forces.
He flew DC-3s off the beaches of Normandy after earning his wings and becoming a flight officer.
While dropping supplies to stranded troops, his plane was strafed by enemy fire in 1944. Returning to England from France with one engine, he crash landed and suffered a broken back.
Dr. Royle received a Purple Heart and was given a medical discharge in 1945, his wife said.
After leaving the military, he resumed his career as a lifeguard, rising to lieutenant in charge of Mission Bay and becoming a supervisor of swimming for the city of San Diego.
He entered San Diego State as a pre-dental major in 1952. Eight years later, he received a dental degree from the school of dentistry at the University of California San Francisco.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Sheelagh Maloof, of Mission Viejo; a son, Ronald Royle, of Encinitas; two sisters, Marilyn Brucker, of El Cajon, and Marjorie O'Keefe, of La Quinta; and four grandchildren.