Marion Towles Burnside Jr.

February 22, 1929January 10, 2021

COLUMBIA - Marion Towles Burnside, Jr., beloved husband, father, grandfather and one of the pioneering conservationists in our state’s history, died on Sunday, January 10, 2021, in Columbia. He was 91 years old. Born February 22, 1929, in Columbia to Marion Towles and Harriet Newman Burnside, he graduated from Columbia High School (Class of 1946) and attended the University of South Carolina.

Throughout his life, Mr. Burnside was engaged in several business ventures, including farming, real estate, automobile dealerships, and automotive parts sales.

In addition to his numerous business interests, Marion devoted much of his life to the conservation of South Carolina’s natural resources. His commitment was instrumental to countless organizations devoted to the conservation of the Palmetto State’s natural resources, including Ducks Unlimited, Quail Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Plantation Managers’ Association, the Southeastern Deer Study Group, the South Carolina Sportsmen’s Coalition, the Nature Conservancy, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Furthermore, his personal leadership was instrumental in the success of numerous conservation efforts including whitetail deer and wild turkey restoration, waterfowl management, a variety of endangered species projects, support for our state’s fish hatcheries, and the statewide wood duck box project. His leadership was especially critical in the establishment of the ACE Basin, among the greatest conservation accomplishments in South Carolina’s history, to preserve one of the largest undeveloped estuaries along the Atlantic Coast. He steadfastly worked with other local, state, and national agencies to ensure the conservation of the ACE Basin and the flora and fauna of many other natural resources within South Carolina for the enjoyment of future generations. His volunteerism always mirrored his deep commitment to the environment, while reflecting his understanding of the business sector and how a public/private partnership could accomplish unparalleled success.

Mr. Burnside, president of the Millaree Hunt Club, served for eleven years on the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Governing Board (1988-1999), including seven years as its Chairman (1988-1995), and was later named as Chairman Emeritus. He previously served for more than 15 years on advisory boards of the former South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Commission, on the Wildlife and Recreational Committee of the South Carolina Forestry Association, on the South Carolina Land Procurement Utilization Committee, and on Clemson University’s Aquaculture, Fisheries and Wildlife Advisory Committee.

In recognition of his extraordinary public service to the conservation of South Carolina’s natural resources, Mr. Burnside received numerous awards, including the first Columbia Ducks Unlimited Conservationist of the Year Award, the first Quail Unlimited Havilah Babcock Award (1986), the Jefferson Award from the American Institute for Public Service (1996), the Quality Deer Management Association’s Joe Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award (2005) and its Ambassador Award in 2018, one of only five honorees in the United States to receive the award since its creation, the Environmental Awareness Award (1995), which is the state’s highest environmental honor, an honorary degree of Doctor of Public Service from the University of South Carolina (2001), the South Carolina Wildlife Federation 2011 Legend of Conversation Award, a 2008 Finalist for the Budweiser Conservationist of the Year, and the Order of the Palmetto (1994), the highest civilian award the Governor can bestow in recognition of outstanding friendship and service to the State of South Carolina.

Mr. Burnside is survived by his wife of seventy (70) years, Mary Blakely “Blake” Hendricks Burnside, sons, Marion T. “Burny” Burnside, III (Pixie), David B. Burnside (Emily) and daughter, Mary Grace Burnside (Harriet), granddaughters, Ariail B. Kirk (Chris) and Brandyn B. Rea (Ronald), grandsons David “Blake” Burnside, Jr. (Erin), Brian G. Burnside (Catherine), and Marion T. Burnside, IV “Buck” (Jenna), and nine (9) great-grandchildren. Mr. Burnside is also survived by Reginald Ervin Smith, a close family friend.

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his siblings, Richard "Dick" Burnside and Harriett "Happy" Richmond.

The family wishes to thank Sylvia Gantt, who provided comfort and care to both Mr. and Mrs. Burnside.

Due to coronavirus protocols, a celebration of life will be conducted at a later date per Mr. Burnside’s request.

Memorials may be sent to the National Deer Association (formally known as the Quality Deer Management Association), P.O. Box 160, Bogart, GA 30622; Washington Street United Methodist Church Foundation, 1401 Washington Street, Columbia, SC 29201; or the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research,, P.O. Box 5014, Hagerstown, MD 21741. Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, is assisting the family.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Marion Towles Burnside Jr.

have a memory or condolence to add?

David Jordan

January 19, 2021

I was sorry to hear about Mr. Marion. Our families have been friends for many years. I will remember Mr. Marion has a good businessman and his love for hunting and fishing.
He will be missed.

Susie Thomas

January 17, 2021

Dear Blake, David & Emily, Burney & Pixie, Mary Grace & Harriett and all the Burnside family,
Much love and heartfelt condolences to you as Marion has passed from this world to the next. He was a thoughtful man who put family and his love for nature and conservation of South Carolina's beautiful outdoors at the forefront of his life. My siblings and I share so many wonderful memories of summer days in our youth swimming at "Marion's pond," fish fries, pig roasts and barbeques at both the old and the new Millaree Hunt Clubs, and the joy that hanging out there with friends and family has given to all of us over the years.
May his memory be eternal!

Henriette Hall

January 16, 2021

It is said, a person should leave this world in a better way than it is found. "Mr. Marion" was proud and honored to do just that alongside teaching others the merits of conservation.
I am proud and honored to have learned from him.
God's Blessings to all of his Family. Henny

Glenn Niske

January 14, 2021

My prayers go out to all of the family. I have know Burney since 1966 and always admired his father. Mr Burnside was a real conservationist and cared about the land and wildlife of SC.

Henry Richardson

January 13, 2021

Mr. Burnside was always a gracious host to those who visited his hunt club. I have great memories of taking my Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout Pack to his facility for overnight camp outs as well as several Ducks Unlimited Greenwing outings where they had many fun things for the kids to do.
One year I was fortunate enough to bag a nice buck on his property and he was helpful in getting me to his hunt club facility where I could clean and hang it in his deer cooler.
Anyone who remembers his car dealership can't see a Chrysler product and not think of him.
He will be missed. Thoughts and Prayers go out to his family.

Robert (bob) Duncan

January 13, 2021

I offer my heartfelt condolences to the Burnside family. Marion Burnside was a conservation giant, an accomplished sportsman and a true southern gentleman!

I shall treasure the memories of my visits to Millaree and the wonderful friendships and hospitality enjoyed with kindred spirits.

Again , my heart goes out to the Burnside family in this time of great loss.

With deepest sympathy,

Bob Duncan
Retired Executive Director
Virginia Dept. of Game & Inland Fisheries.