March 30, 1943 - October 6, 2021
John Denny Burns passed away peacefully in his home on October 6, 2021. He was surrounded in his final moments by his two daughters, Christina and Catherine, and the undisputed love of his life, his wife Gloria. He is also survived by his granddaughter, Allison, who was by his side until the day before his passing. John was born on March 30, 1943, in Glasgow, Scotland during World War II. His mother, Martha, was a nurse during the war while his father, Maurice, was off for long stretches of time during John’s younger years while serving in the British Army. The Burns family, including his older brother, Roy, and younger sister, Carol, emigrated to Niagara Falls, Ontario in 1957, and subsequently to New York City. It was in NYC where John met Richie Mennella, his partner in crime throughout his youth. They were inseparable and spent their weekend evenings on Morningside Drive in Manhattan and in the Bronx working on their dance moves and being rambunctious teenage boys. John graduated from George Washington High School in 1961, before joining the New York Central Railroad, where he worked for several years alongside Mennella in the claims department. Concurrent with his employ at the railroad, John began his service in the United States Army National Guard of the State of New York in 1963. He served for six years and was honorably discharged with a rank of Staff Sergeant (E-6). He met fellow guardsman Michael Ginsberg while stationed at Fort Dix, NJ and their friendship formed almost immediately. John’s position at the railroad relocated him to Weehawken, NJ for a couple years, and he attended weekly poker nights at the Ginsbergs’ house and became part of the family. They were always boisterous and lively together and there would never be a sullen face in the room in their presence. Mennella and Ginsberg were his dearest friends whose bond lasted until the very end. In John’s final days, both would call frequently and have him in stitches with laughter reminiscing about the old days as though they were kids again. It was a beautiful testament of true friendship and genuine love and respect. In 1966, John began working for Swiss Air in NYC and travelled extensively around the globe. In February of 1971, John led a tour for the Swiss Air Familiarization Trip with a group of 19 women from National Airlines in Lucerne, Switzerland. Of all the women on his tour, he only had eyes for one. John and Gloria Lino became fast friends. They eventually began dating and John married his “Fluffy” on June 9, 1973. John and Fluff welcomed their first daughter, Christina, a couple years later and she was instantly the apple of his eye. As Christina grew and talked day and night, John thought there was no way he could have more than one child as it would be impossible to have more chatter in the home. Gloria had other plans in mind, and they welcomed their second daughter, Catherine, in 1978. At this time, John was proven correct-- he barely got a word in edgewise for the rest of his life. Assuming the self-proclaimed title of Family Mushroom (“…they just sit me in the corner and feed me sh*t.”), he did his best to maintain a healthy sense of humor about being outnumbered. He was always a good sport, and Rodney Dangerfield’s “no respect!” was a common muttering around the house. John was thrilled to finally welcome Rey Redlich (Christina) and Jim Flanagan (Catherine) into the family. It brought him great joy to see his girls so happy and he thought —just maybe—he would finally gain some traction in the pecking order of the family. It didn’t happen of course, but he dared to dream! His self-deprecating sense of humor was second to none. As Gloria was inexhaustibly involved in every non-profit and event that crossed her path, John dutifully attended each occasion upon request, and proudly introduced himself to strangers as “Gloria’s husband” or “Mr. Gloria”. When John became a grandfather, he finally got what he yearned for all those years—an ally. John and his granddaughter, Allison, were thick as thieves and he spoiled her to no end. There was nothing her “Papa” would say no to, and even after leaving for college she always made time to have her dinner dates with her Papa when she came into town. Nothing on this earth gave him more joy than the time he got to spend talking to her, giving her advice, and marveling at her achievements. John’s overall attitude was of an era long gone. The first adjective most used to describe him is that he was an honest man. A very close second is he had a wicked sense of humor. He was masterful at giving advice on various issues such as “Never ruin bourbon by adding Coke. Blasphemy.”. In addition to his admirable integrity and humor, he always made people feel welcomed in his presence and as though they had a friend in a room full of strangers. If you were a guest in his home, he would have a drink in your hand before you could even greet everyone in the room. He would then stand in the driveway upon your departure, waving goodbye until your car was out of sight. (He could have been making sure you were gone for good, but we’ll give him this one as a sign of his gentility.) When wished a happy wedding anniversary, John would religiously – every single time -- respond with “I deserve a medal!”. Much to his amusement, his eldest daughter presented him with a medal engraved with “A Medal” on the 9th day of June in the year of our Lord 2021. Having achieved that well-deserved recognition, John had nothing left he wished to accomplish in his colorful and storied life. Although his passing came too suddenly for those he left behind, he assured us constantly that he had “absolutely no regrets” about his life and all the experiences he was fortunate enough to have. He loved his family and friends with all his heart and was grateful beyond words for the privilege of having each and every one of those relationships. But now Mr. Gloria is looking down at us realizing we’re just a bunch of losers who have never seen Heaven. And for us mere mortals left here without him, life is just going to be a little less funny. We’ll miss you, Honey. We’ll miss you, Daddy. We’ll miss you, Dade. We’ll miss you, Papa. We love you. Salud.
John Denny Burns passed away peacefully in his home on October 6, 2021. He was surrounded in his final moments by his two daughters, Christina and Catherine, and the undisputed love of his life, his wife Gloria. He is also survived by his granddaughter,... View Obituary & Service Information
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