Jones, Rich & Barnes Funeral Home

199 Woodford Street, Portland, ME


James Stanley Burns

December 9, 1944January 4, 2020

James Burns, 75, passed away on January 4, 2020, due to complications from Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. Beloved husband of Martha, father of Dan and Doug, and brother of Steve, Jim was devoted to his family and always made clear through words and actions that they were the top priority in his life. Loving and wholeheartedly supportive, Jim also embraced his daughters-in-law Hillary and Julie, step-children Julie Kimber (and husband Mike) and Asher Nichols (and wife Susan), and all 10 of his grandchildren - Adam, Rachel, Logan, Justin, Will, Esme, Molly, Charlotte, Lizzie and Alex. Jim is preceded in death by his parents, Rose and Mitchell Burns, and his sister, Gail (Pelletier).

Born in Portland, Maine, Jim and his family initially grew up on Forest Avenue sharing a duplex with the family of his close friend Barry Zimmerman, and then later on Brighton Avenue. A proud graduate of Deering High School, Jim never strayed far from his roots even when life took him to Philadelphia for four decades. He loved sharing stories of "walking through the snow uphill both ways" to school and regaled his family during holidays with the Deering Fight Song. One of his favorite shirts to wear simply stated, "Born in Maine. Living in Exile.".

After obtaining degrees from Tufts University and New York University Law School, Jim and his wife Marcy settled in the Philadelphia area where he practiced law, for many years as a partner in the Real Estate Department at the law firm of Wolf Block Schorr and Solis-Cohen, completing his career as Senior Counsel at the law firm Cozen O'Connor. Jim was a Philadelphia Lawyer in the finest sense of that phrase. He was a true counselor to his many clients, whether individual real estate developers or Fortune 500 investors and bankers. All valued and relied upon his superb judgment and legal skills. Jim's most significant professional legacy, however, is that of mentor and friend to younger generations of real estate attorneys with whom he worked. They remember and will never forget how their lives, both professional and personal, have been touched by him.

During a trip to Maine in 1998, Jim met his future wife Martha and eventually moved back to Maine for the last two decades of his life. Always an avid gardener and appreciator of nature, Jim eagerly immersed himself in all that he loved of his native state, including weekly trips out on the lobster boat with Martha's late father, John White, skiing excursions up to Mt. Abram and Shawnee Peak with friend Jack Emory, and of course fried clams (Ken's Place was his favorite), lobster rolls, whoopie pies and ice cream. From going on walks through the Village and down to the docks with Martha to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in a nearby field, Jim loved life in South Freeport and made many friends that he truly cherished. Jim's other special place was his condominium at Seascape on Grand Beach, where he and his family shared so many special moments that will forever be indelible memories. Jim served from 2005-2008 as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for The Cedars.

Jim's family would like to extend deep appreciation to Beach Glass Transitions, Bay Square @ Yarmouth, Advantage Home Care, Compass Concierge & Companions, and CHANS Hospice Care. A Memorial Service will be held on January 7 at Temple Beth El in Portland at 11:00 am with burial to follow at Temple Beth El Memorial Park. A shiva will follow at his home in South Freeport. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you make a donation in honor of Jim to The Cedars (www.thecedarsportland.org/giving/donate-now/), The Cedars Development Office, 630 Ocean Avenue, Portland, ME 04103; to the Alzheimer's Association, Maine Chapter (www.alz.org); or to a charity of your choice.


  • Memorial Service Tuesday, January 7, 2020
  • Burial Tuesday, January 7, 2020


James Stanley Burns

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Steve Wilus

January 16, 2020

So very sorry to hear of Jim's passing. Such a quick wit and a warm heart. He was a craftsman when it came to his work. I remember how excited he was to move back to Maine. Philadelphia's loss. Keeping his family in my thoughts and prayers. May he rest in peace!

Ken Waetzman

January 12, 2020

Jim and I worked together or on opposite sides of the table for over twenty five years in the 70's thru 90's when he was an attorney at Wolf Block in Philadelphia representing all the major Philadelphia Banks that my Company was borrowing from for developments in the Delaware Valley. He was the most professional and warmest person I can ever remember meeting in my professional life in the real estate development business. We truly earned a respect that grew into friendship over the years. He will be missed by all that came in contact with him throughout the years. I truly will miss Jim and send my deepest sympathies to all his family and friends.

Kate Kiggins

January 7, 2020

Dear Martha,
Jared and I are so sorry for your loss. As new owners at Seascape, Jim made us welcome with his warmth and good humor. I hope that memories you and Jim made at Grand Beach will offer you some solace when you return to Seascape.
Zichrono Livracha.
In sympathy,
Kate Kiggins

Jordan Paul

January 7, 2020

Jim was an outstanding lawyer and teacher who provided outstanding wisdom, judgement and counsel to anyone who had the good fortune to work with him. As great as he was as a lawyer, he was an even better person. Jim was one of the kindest, most gracious people I have ever known. Having Jim as a mentor was one of the true blessings of my life. He was taken much too soon but he leaves a tremendous legacy. I will be forever grateful to Jim and wish his family much comfort in this difficult time.

Jordan Paul

Penny altman

January 6, 2020

I had the honor of meeting Jim during the final days of his life and knew immediately what I had missed because because he was no longer fully himself. Through those short encounters, I could feel a man of extraordinary love, kindness and talent. Everyone who cared for him fell in love. Sincere sympathy to those who loved him throughout his life. I can imagine how you will miss him. I'm glad he is at peace