DOWNEY – Donald L. Burns passed away Jan. 22 with his family by his side. Born Dec. 1, 1939 to Paul and Marguerite Burns in Glendale, Don grew up in Hawthorne and went to Leusinger High School in Lawndale.
He went into the Army in 1957, was stationed in Germany and was discharged in 1961. He married Helen (Greathead) in 1965, and moved to Downey in 1971 where they raised their family.
Don worked as a fence contractor all over Southern California until 1979 when he started his own business with a post-hole digging rig known as “Don’s Digger.”
Don actively donated his efforts to help build cages, pens and the puppy enclosure at the L.A. County Animal Control shelter.
He was president of West Downey Little League in 1983. He coached his son’s Little League baseball team, and in the spring of 1984, designed and built the WDLL field at Stauffer (formerly West) Middle School.
He coached his daughter’s Ponytail softball team, was an active booster parent for Warren High School Band & Pageantry from 1989-1991. He helped build the first three grad nights at Warren High from 1989-1991, and also called bingo on Monday nights at Warren from 1988-1993.
Don and Helen moved to Gresham, Ore., in 1995. Don made a career change and opened a locksmith shop in Woodstock, Ore., in 1998. They moved back to Downey in 2000, where he worked at Bellflower Lock until his passing.
Don was also a classic car enthusiast, and showed his completely restored 1964 Ford Thunderbird at the local car shows. He was a member of the Thunderbirds of Southern California car club, and the Cruisin’ 50’s. He was an active member of “Friends of Johnie’s”, which was instrumental in saving the Harvey’s Broiler structure from being demolished in 2007, which now stands as Bob’s Big Boy.
Don is survived by his wife, Helen Burns; sisters, Eileen Devore and Beverly Hart; sons, Damon Burns and Donald Burns II; daughter, Denice (Burns) Paxton; three grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
Services are private. In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to Noah’s Bark Pet Rescue.
Published: Feb. 19, 2015 - Volume 13 - Issue 45