After a lengthy battle with prostate cancer, Charles Lombardo, a longtime Bob Hope Airport commissioner, died Sunday. He was 57.
Don Brown, who has served with Lombardo on the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority for about a decade, said he was found reclining in a lounge chair in the backyard of his Burbank home. It appeared Lombardo died sometime Sunday afternoon, Brown said.
“It looked like he was relaxing, just catching some rays,” Brown said. “He hadn’t fallen. It looks like it was peaceful for him.”
Lombardo was found by gardeners Monday morning, Brown added.
FOR THE RECORD: This corrects an earlier version that stated Lombardo lived alone.
Lombardo had been undergoing treatment for prostate cancer for about three years and was known for reminding fellow authority commissioners to get regular prostate screenings, Brown said.
Burbank Councilman Gary Bric, a longtime friend, said Lombardo had told him three months ago that he was given a clean bill of health.
Lombardo, who was first appointed to the tri-city governing board of Bob Hope Airport in 1998, was due to serve until June 2013, when his term was set to expire.
In addition to being past president of the airport authority, Lombardo had served on the finance and operations committees.
“His passion and love was the airport, and obviously his family and the Buffalo Bills — those were his three passions,” Bric said, adding that the two of them sometimes watched games together.
Burbank City Councilman Dave Golonski said Lombardo supported many local nonprofits and charities, particularly the Holiday Baskets program.
“He was always there to try to help people who needed it,” Golonski said.
Before serving on the airport authority, Lombardo regularly spoke at City Council meetings, often addressing airport issues. He was a strong advocate of a curfew at the airport.
While there is no nighttime ban on flights, there has been a voluntary curfew from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. for 30 years, which Brown said is followed “98% of the time.”
Lombardo’s son Anthony said his father also led efforts to change the name of the airport in honor of comedian Bob Hope.
“It was because he was a local resident and because of all he did for the city,” Anthony Lombardo said.
Brown said Charles Lombardo always responded to citizen’s concerns — especially noise complaints — and worked tirelessly to answer all questions.
“He was a bulldog,” Brown said.
Burbank Transportation Commission Chairman Paul Dyson said he first met Lombardo about 10 years ago on a plane from Denver to Burbank.
“We talked airports all the way,” Dyson said. “He was very enthusiastic about aviation and loved serving on the commission.”
Lombardo was also active with Airports Council International – North America, the Washington D.C.-based industry association for airport owners and operators, and was vice-chairman of the association’s Commissioners Committee, which advocates on behalf of airports.
The Burbank City Council will appoint his successor. As of Monday, funeral services had not yet been finalized, although a memorial service may be held at the airport next week, said Anthony Lombardo.
Lombardo is survived by two sons, two brothers and a sister.