Lester BurnsLester Burns, son of the late Mary A. Burns and George T. Burns, passed away peacefully on June 21, 2016, with beloved staff members of Bridges Cornell Heights by his side.

Dr. Burns was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Virginia Updike Burns; parents, George Thomas Burns and Mary Ann Priest Burns; a sister, Catherine Ann Burns Stover; his brothers, John, George, James and Ralph Burns.  He is survived by several nieces and nephews.

Dr. Burns was born on March 11, 1917 in Oneonta. He moved to Trumansburg with his family two months later and maintained Trumansburg as his hometown most of his life span.

Dr. Burns graduated from Trumansburg High School with the class of 1924 as salutatorian of the class. It was during that depression and the only work he could find was farm work. Two years later since he had always wanted to go to college, he quit his farm job, applied to the Agriculture College at Cornell and was accepted there, finding a job in the bacterial department washing petrie dishes and test tubes which he held for 4 years. He secured his vocational agriculture teaching certificate and accepted a one year position in Groton Central School and then moved to McGraw Central School for two years. On August 11, 1943, Lester and Virginia Ruth Updike Burns were married in the Methodist Church in Trumansburg. They started living in Scott, NY where he accepted the position of principal of the Scott School.

In August 1944, Dr. Burns entered the US Army. He trained in Florida and was shipped on the Queen Mary to Europe and assigned to the 4th Division in a machine gun squad. He earned a Bronze Star and Infantry Badge, along with several other badges. He was honorably discharged in March 1946 and immediately enrolled in Cornell to start work on his Masters Degree which was earned in 1947. From 1947 to 1948 he spent time at Cornell starting work on a Doctorate Degree.

In the spring of 1948, Russ Doig, the principal of Trumansburg Central Schools offered Dr. Burns a position as the Vocational Agriculture teacher and ask him to take charge of the transportation of pupils. He also drove bus for 4 years.

In 1956, Doig approached Dr. Burns saying he wanted a full time guidance program and wanted him to head it up. In 1961, Dr. Burns was awarded his Doctorate Degree from Cornell and was promoted to Director of Pupil Personnel Services. During this time he was asked to serve as interim High School Principal several times.

In 1973, He was appointed assistant superintendent. In 1975 he served as interim superintendent and in 1977 was appointed high school principal which he served as until his retirement in 1979.  During the tenure at Trumansburg Central Schools, he served as a volunteer for the Board of Willard Nursing School with monthly meetings for 10 years. During this time he also served as a volunteer for the Federal Selective Service, for this he received a certificate signed by President Ford.

Since 1951, Dr. Burns and Virginia spent for of their summers at their cottage on Poplar Beach. However this stopped when Virginia was injured and Mr. Burns became caretaker and after her stroke he spent part of his days at Bridges Cornell Heights where Virginia received excellent and loving care for the better part of 10 years.

A graveside service with Military Honors will be held on Monday, June 27th at 1:00 PM at Grove Cemetery, Trumansburg, NY. Following the service friends are invited to a reception at Bridges Cornell Heights, 407 Wyckoff Ave., Ithaca.

At Dr. Burns request, in lieu of flowers please consider a donation in his memory to the American Legion Post #770, PO Box 456, Trumansburg, NY or other charity of your choice.