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John H. Burns Jr. ’18

Published in Sept.11, 1991, issue

THE CITIZENS OF WICHITA, Kansas, and the Class of '18 suffered a true loss with the death of John H. Jr., on April 13, 1991 - a few weeks after his 96th birthday. His son, Jack, sent along a superb feature article from the May 5 Wichita Wichita EAGLE, and we shall quote therefrom.

"The Wichita EAGLE, 1917: 'J.H. Burns will be the first Wichita man to enlist for service in France. ... He will sail May 26 with a unit of other Princeton men for Bordeaux. ... He has enlisted in the ambulance corps. ... The Princeton men are making up this unit at their own expense.'

"John Burns drove a fiveton Pierce Arrow ammunition truck from railroad stations to the front, 'with the French shelling me from the back and the Germans shelling me from the front.'

He married Josephine Brooks of Wichita in 1921. They would have a son, Jack, and a daughter, Barbara. ... He formed an insurance company, was a founder of the Wichita Kiwanis, a director of a number of companies, and in the midforties was the president of the Chamber of Commerce. ... He retired in '84 € and delighted in spending more time at his passions - playing bridge, dancing, and enjoying his five grandchildren and five greatgrandchildren."

The article closes with these moving sentences: "He learned how to yoke idealism and pragmatism, charity and competition ... how to bank the fire of idealism to keep it burning and alive. ... His great contribution was the life he led in this community, the people he touched, the good he did, the legacy he leaves," The Class is indeed proud to call John Burns a classmate.

The Class of 1918

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