Donald G. Burnham

January 10, 1936September 27, 2020

Portland, ME – Donald G. “Don” Burnham, 84, of Portland and formerly of Scarborough, ME, passed away on Sunday, September 27, 2020, at the Seaside Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Don was born in Newcastle, Maine, on January 10, 1936, a son of the late Arthur and Rena (Light) Burnham. He grew up in Scarborough and attended local schools. Don joined the Naval Reserves at the age of seventeen, serving for the next eight years.

Known for his strong work ethic, Don was a truck driver for Snow’s Canning Company for thirty-four years until his retirement in the early 1990s. During his retirement, he enjoyed shucking clams, working until he was 82 years old. Even into his later years, work provided him with not only a sense of purpose but also the camaraderie of friends and the comfort of community.

When Don wasn’t working, his passion was playing music. He followed in his family's footsteps and played many instruments, but he was best known for playing the banjo, guitar, and fiddle—like his idol Hank Williams. He often shared fond memories of playing bluegrass and country music with his dad, and his talent was recognized beyond his family: he played on local radio stations as a teenager and young adult and performed in several bands over the years, most notably the Nashville Express, which won numerous Maine country music awards in the late 70s and early 80s. In 2000, Don was presented with the Fiddlin’ Harold Carter Award by the Down East Country Music Association for his contributions to the world of country music. In addition to his love of music, Don was an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox and was thrilled when they “broke the curse” and won the World Series in 2004 for the first time since 1918 and then repeated the achievement in three subsequent World Series championships.

Work and play kept the rhythm of his life, but the love of his family brought him the most joy. He is survived by his two daughters, Lisa Newcomb-O’Brien and her husband Darren of Standish, and Lindsay Lamb and her husband Mike of Windham. He also leaves five grandchildren, Kallie Spiller and her husband Seth, Tessa Newcomb, Jed Newcomb, Eddie Kinsman, and Connor Harrison—as well as his great-grandson Cole Spiller. He also leaves his sister Barbara Turner and her husband Bruce of Scarborough and several nieces and nephews. Don was the stepfather of the late Frank E. “Eddie” Kinsman Jr., who died in February 2016, and was the brother of the late Arthur Burnham Jr. and Marilyn Brown.

Services will be private.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Donald’s memory can be made to: Maine Academy of Modern Music, 125 Presumpscot Street, Portland, ME 04103.


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


Donald G. Burnham

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Dennis Buzzell

October 5, 2020

RIP Brother Don, I loved playing music with you and the NASHVILLE EXPRESS. You were a vital part of my life. A great friend

Carolyn McKenzie

October 5, 2020

Lisa, Lynsey I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families. Hugs to you both.

Dorothea Boynton

October 4, 2020

I’m so sorry for your loss, I can’t imagine what you and Lisa and the kids are going through. My mom took it really hard, she wasn’t able to see him , so that up set her. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Love Dottie

Tammy Looby

October 4, 2020

Lisa Lynsey and family.. I’m so sorry for your loss .. I think of your Dad often.. He was always the sweetest .. he would do anything for anyone.. He will be missed.. your in my thoughts and prayers.. I love you all❤️ Tammy


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