OBITUARY

James L. Burnes

July 3, 1932July 4, 2019
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James L. Burnes, a career public servant known for his professional and ethical management as an administrator in New York State government, died July 4 near his retirement home in Bonita Springs, Fla. He had just turned 87. Mr. Burnes grew up in Waterbury, Ct., served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean Conflict and attended the University of Connecticut on the GI bill, earning a BA degree in 1959 from the College of Arts and Sciences. At that time, government was expanding at all levels, and Mr. Burnes was recruited by New York State as a top prospect for a professional development program. After interning at the Division of the Budget and the Department of Transportation and honing his natural leadership skills, Mr. Burnes was recruited by the Department of Agriculture and Markets, becoming the first professional administrator of the agency. Over the coming decades, five consecutive commissioners appointed by governors of both major parties relied on Mr. Burnes’ wise counsel, extraordinary work ethic and apolitical leadership. Known for his foresight and ability to quickly recognize, and prevent, potential problems, Mr. Burnes earned a reputation as a creative and dedicated public servant with an uncanny knack for identifying and nurturing young talent. Mr. Burnes was particularly adept at forging productive and cost-saving partnerships between the various agencies of state government, as well as with local and federal entities, and believed he had a professional and moral obligation to scrupulously manage public resources. Long active in the YMCA, Mr. Burnes served as a board member and officer of the Albany branch. He played basketball at the Y well into his middle years, challenging men half his age and half a foot taller. His far younger and much larger opponents fondly dubbed him “Dr. J.” Mr. Burnes lived and worked in the Albany, N.Y. area for most of his professional life, and moved to Florida after retiring in the early 1990s. He enjoyed golf, swimming and socializing with his many friends. Mr. Burnes was predeceased by his parents, Robert and Grace (Schwarz) Burnes. Mr. Burnes was also predeceased by his brother, Arthur Burnes, and three sisters: Roberta Hurley; Elizabeth (Frank) Hackett; and Mary Ann (Salvatore) Gugliotti. He is survived by his two children, Dr. James P. Burnes of Clifton Park, N.Y., an associate professor at Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y. , and Ann (Steven) Nothwehr of Dickerson, Md., a clinical dietician at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.; one grandchild; and numerous nieces and nephews. A Celebration of Life will be held on Wednesday, July 10 at Hodges Funeral Home (525 111th Ave, Naples, Fla.), with family receiving friends from 12:00-2:00 and a service immediately following.

Services

  • Visitation Wednesday, July 10, 2019
  • Funeral Service Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Memories

James L. Burnes

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Jan & Stuart Bryce

July 13, 2019

We lived on Spanish Wells for 15 years until 2017 and met Jim regularly in the pool. He always gave us a good welcome when we arrived back in Florida. A very interesting man always curious to know about what was happening in the UK & really good to discuss many varied topics with.
Jim was a kind man with a good sense of humour and we really enjoyed his company both at the pool and socially.
I'm sure he will be sadly missed by his many friends and family.

Marty Lieberman

July 11, 2019

Spent the last two winters at Spanish Wells and enjoyed chatting with Jim at the pool about many subjects. He always had an interesting and informative “take” on all matters big and small. So sorry to hear the news, the pool just won’t be quite the same without Jim relaxing in the pool and then under an umbrella afterwards.

Terrie Arts

July 9, 2019

I met Jim at the community pool in Spanish Wells a few years ago when we first retired. He got his exercise in like clockwork in the morning and was always ready for a healthy conversation about just about anything. Great obituary for a great man. RIP Jim, you will be missed.

Joyce Seitz

July 9, 2019

Jim, You will be missed by so many. We spent hours in the pool solving the problems of the world, telling stories, jokes and just enjoying life. We had a few drinks, dinners, shared New Years Eves and made some great memories. I loved your sense of humor and smile. You’ll be remembered fondly❤️. Rest In Peace my friend.

Cherie & Bob Budgins

July 9, 2019

Awe, Jim! I sincerely hope that when it's all said and done, I would have affected so many in such a positive way as the example you set. With the utmost respect, I will say this is truly a loss for all who knew you. I send you on with heartfelt prayers that you forever swim in our Lords pool of angels.

Chris & Cathy Joyce

July 9, 2019

Jim was a valued neighbor and friend. He contributed a lot to our condo community over the years, as a member of the Board, and eventually as Board Chairman of the Spanish Wells Community Association. Everyone enjoyed his daily visits to the pool, his good nature, and his jokes! Unfortunately, we will not be here for his memorial service. We extend our condolences to his family. He will be missed!

Marti and Larry Wallen

July 8, 2019

We will return to Spanish Wells in Jan. It will not be the same with you not there! We will miss you telling us the latest jokes and the wonderful discussions. Prayers to your family. Loved you, Jimmy!

Patty Taylor

July 8, 2019

Jim was a staple at our pool - you could find him in the pool in the shady area, where he would share one of his many jokes that had us laugh and appreciate his sense of humor. He will be missed. On late afternoons Jim would get ready to leave, look over his shoulder, and say “Hey girls, don’t forget to turn out the light when you leave.” Such a fine character. Many prayers and consolations to his family.
Rest In Peace, Dear Jim.

Liz & Robert Graham

July 8, 2019

Sending our condolences to Jim’s family. Through the years we enjoyed spirited conversations and especially his wit. He will be missed. Sorry we can’t attend the service because we will be out of town.

Christopher Pannone

July 8, 2019

Rest In Peace, Jim. Your humor, hospitality, and good nature are my memory and a model for my own life. We wish your family our condolences but also best wishes on a life well lived.

Our thoughts are with your children and also of your sisters and brother, especially Elizabeth — and her husband, Frank — whom we miss dearly and hold in our hearts warmly.

With gratitude and respect,

Chris Pannone

FROM THE FAMILY
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