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James Daniel Burns

October 2, 1932 April 23, 2021
James Daniel Burns
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Obituary for James Daniel Burns
James Daniel Burns was born in Butte, Montana on October 2, 1932, and passed away at age 88 on April 23,
2021 in Spokane. WA. Dan grew up in Butte and graduated from Butte Central High School in 1950. His
parents were James Donald Burns and Lucy Edna (Judy) Waight Burns, of Butte.
When Dan was very young he worked as a PinBoy at a local bowling alley (re-setting the pins as people
bowled), he camped and went fly fishing with his family, and on many occasion, rode the free trolley rides to
Columbia Gardens; the amusement park in Butte created by copper magnate William A. Clark in 1899. As a
young man Dan competed as a boxer (a sport he never liked, but the “old man” made him do it), worked in
the infamous and dangerous Butte copper mines, and then began his trade as an Electrician, which ultimately
led him to California, but Butte would always hold a special and very proud spot in his heart.
After graduating from high school, Dan married the love of his life, Kate Riley, in Butte on Oct. 6th, 1951, and
they were married just a few months shy of their 50th wedding anniversary. Dan served in the Navy Reserve
and spent time in San Diego. Upon finishing up with the Navy, and looking for a fresh start, they left Butte in
1956 with their two little girls, Kathleen and Janet, and moved to Riverside, CA where they had their third
child, Jeanie in 1962. Dan and Kate lived the California dream for the next 15 years where Dan furthered his
career as an electrician at Rohr Aircraft, then later became a life-long member of the local 440 International
Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (his son-in-law, Barry and grandson Aaron, followed in Dan’s footsteps,
and also became Electricians for the IBEW 440). While in California they raised their three daughters, built a
home and met some of their dearest life-long friends. They began to move extensively from 1971-1976, until
ultimately finding their permanent home back in the Pacific Northwest at Deer Lake where Dan worked for
Alcoa. After retiring, Dan and Kate enjoyed traveling and wintering in Arizona.
Dan was a wise-cracking, gentle man that didn’t take life too seriously. It was a good thing we didn’t listen to
his advice to “Go Play on the Freeway” as kids, or who knows what would have happened to us! We’ll all
remember him calling us “Knuckleheads”. While he was a “keep to yourself” kind of guy, he and mom were
always there to make sure that we had good times as a family, they enjoyed life with their girls. With trips to
Disneyland & Knotts Berry Farm, the beach, hot road trips to Butte in a 60’s Country Squire Station wagon
and later special times as a father-in-law and grandpa with camping trips and lake time. After mom passed
there were the weekly “dad” lunches and calls that will always be special.
Deep down Dan was an artist, but family and work came first in those early years (expect when it came to
Sunday football, where nothing else really mattered except those games…GO HAWKS! (or “Seabirds” as he
would say). His talents shined in the drawings and the birdhouses he built with Janet and Kathy, wee-bowling
with friends, and his knowledge of the Civil War. Later in life it became even more apparent that he was a
witty, gentle introvert who didn’t mind hanging out with his dog, reading books, having his “three girls” visit
him and making sure his “little birds” were well fed and taken care of. He said he had no regrets in life and
that brings us great peace.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife; Kate, two sisters, Shirley Ellis and Patricia Kane, and sonin-law John Carl. He is survived by his daughters; Kathleen Rogers, and her husband Barry, Janet Carl, Jean
Klündt and her husband Darin, along with his grandchildren Katrina (Rogers) Marks, Aaron Rogers, Justin Carl,
Benjamin Klündt, Taylor Klündt, and his great-grandchildren Peter Marks, Deven Marks, Gabrielle Marks, Jordyn Marks, Alicia Goodwin, Cameron Rogers, Ariana Rogers, Weston Klündt and Charlie Klündt. Along with
numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
A private family memorial will held July 2021.
Dan’s love of animals ran deep and was evident in the fact that he always wanted to make sure they were
cared for. Anyone wishing to make a contribution in honor of Dan Burns, please send it to the Dachshund Rescue NW, P.O. Box 1383, Airway Heights, WA, 99001.
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