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Barbara and Wase Binford

From shooting fireworks off his deck to trying to drown us in Long Island Sound, John always made life fun. We are so saddened to hear of his passing and are keeping Gale and the family in our prayers.Love, Barb and Wade

Peter and Hilary Zachary

Simply the Best.

Thom Mason

My deepest sympathy to Gale and Family. I got to know John through the sail club and working at Kaman. Such a kind soul that enjoyed a good laugh and we had some great laughs! He touched so many lives! Sail on my friend!

Scott Inglis

Many of a time, we spent upon the water. Thank you John for teaching me some sailing and how to enjoy life! You Sir are one of the good guys and you are missed. Rest your oars my friend.

Tom and Gerry Clare

Even though we were 'stinkpotters,' John and Gale welcomed us to the Sailing Club and we enjoyed many great trips together. We know the Burns family has been truly blessed to have him at the helm as we have to have known him.w him.

Jim and Janet Ches

We were lucky enough to know both the northern and southern John. Me from work at Textron (and a memorable trip to Japan…he tried to blackmail me for 1 lousy pic with a Geisha!). Truly loved his toys as the southern John exhibited ( boats, drones with cameras, funny bikes) We ‘ll truly miss him!

Jane Gurley

My thoughts and prayers are with you all. I only git to see him once a month when he came to get money for his Aunt. It was always such a pleasure to see him and talk for a few moments.

Roger and Wanda Henderson

Our depest smypathy to Gale and family. We have so many wonderful memories of our time spent with John and Gale. The many sailing races and weekend trips plus evening dinners shared. Those times shared will never be forgotten. Commodore (Captain) Burns was a wonderful friend and sailing mentor.

Stephen Massaro

John, launched my career in Aerospace Quality Assurance when he put his faith in me as a young engineer and promoted me into management at Fairchild Republic. He was a great mentor, a great leader and a wonderful human being. Everyone who worked with him or for him loved and respected him. I will never forget him.

Bob Malanga

The times we had working in the Aerospace Industry will always be my fondest memory of John. We had some good times and memories I will never forget about my friend. He will be missed.

Joe and Susan Bowen

Our dearest John … what an inspiration you are. His smile would light up a room. Just look at the photo above for proof. Oh, the memories we have … the laughs we have had … and the camaraderie we have shared with you and Gale. We send our love to you Gale, Carol, David and John. And John = please say hello to Gene, Butch, and all of our other sailing gang. Such joy to think of your past antics1

Johann Taylor

My deepest condolences to Gale and family. I loved John like the little brother I wanted him to be . Our summers in NY and Ware Ma were some of the best memories etched in my mind. Always loved and will be missed Cousin, Johann

John Henry Burns


John Henry Burns, 78, of Fernandina Beach, FL passed away on June 22, 2023.

John was born on December 18, 1944 in Queens, New York. A child of the New York public school system, John attended the New York Institute of Technology, which led him to a long career in the aerospace industry. He worked at Grumman Aerospace, where he was part of a team that helped develop the lunar module; then went on to work at Fairchild Republic, Avco Lycoming/Textron & Kaman Aerospace.

John leaves behind beloved wife Gale; children John & wife Kathleen; Carol & husband Eric Thorne; David & wife Jennifer; as well as nine beautiful grandchildren; Amelia, Andrew, Caroline, Julia, Allison, Katherine, Damien, Henry and Cadence.

John was known by those closest to him as the “Captain”. An avid boater, fisherman and scotch connoisseur, he loved to spend his free time on the ocean.

Some of his fondest memories came from fishing with his sons. Whether they hit the waters off the coast of Florida, Connecticut, Block Island or Cape Cod, John was always eager to throw a line in, have a few drinks and reel them in.

His favorite catch? Striped bass. His best? A 38-pounder.

Those lucky enough to spend time on his boat will never forget the side-splitting fun: the greased watermelons, non-stop Jimmy Buffet soundtrack, trips to Jekyll Island and fishing at FA & the jetty. His fishing buddies can tell you, it always took John more time to take pictures of a fish, than it did to actually land it.

HIs faithful first mate Gale was by his side for 54 years. The two were inseparable - you couldn’t say John without saying Gale. She not only kept him out of trouble, she always hoisted his sails to let him soar.

John took so much pride in the joy of being a grandfather. The kids’ laughter fueled his fun. Whether it was an epic water balloon fight, dressing up as an inflatable unicorn, or giving it a go on the backyard trampoline, John was game to try anything to keep the kids giggling.

John was predeceased in death by his father John Henry Sr., mother Eleanor and his beloved Uncle and Aunt, Jim & Wilma Montgomery, surrogate grandparents to John’s three kids.

It’s hard to sum up a remarkable man whose career put his name on the moon and whose passion lead him to explore the ocean. If you were lucky enough at some point to join him on the journey, you know the funny, loving, compassionate guy who was taken from us too soon. We hope you will join us with one final toast to the Captain:
Cheers John, may you have fair winds and calm seas.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, July 29th at 10am in the Burgess Chapel of Oxley-Heard Funeral Directors, 1305 Atlantic Ave, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034.

Rather that flowers, a donation in memory of John, can be made to: Nassau Sport Fishing Association/Scholarship Fund, PO Box 16417, Fernandina Beach, FL 32035


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