Robert John Burns

Robert John Burns

Robert John Burns


On April 25, 2023, while in the arms of his beloved wife, the twinkle went out of the Irish eyes of Robert John Burns, age 97, of Independence, Iowa. Our hearts are broken, but we know we were blessed to have this kind and gentle man in our lives. Robert was born on a farm near Lamont, Iowa, on July 1, 1925, where he attended the Lamont School. Though he endured a difficult childhood, moving numerous times during the Great Depression, his family finally settled in Winthrop.

Robert was third in line to be born to Bridget (Short) Burns and John Burns. His siblings included Dorothy (Lloyd) Callahan, Donald (Anne) Burns and Shirley (Robert) Whitney.

Robert was the last of two people from Buchanan County to be drafted into peacetime Army, along with Bill Alden, Masonville. He was stationed in Ft. Lewis,

Tacoma, Wash. It was there he married his bride, Doris Jarvis, of Manchester, on June 11, 1949. Later that year, Robert and Doris moved back to Winthrop. He remained in the Army Reserves for five years. He worked as a carpenter with Paul T. Quint for some years. They built houses and St. Patrick’s Catholic Church Hall together, until Paul T.’s retirement. Robert was known as a hard worker, and worked for many around the Winthrop area, including Doc Murphy at the Winthrop Elevator, Don Peck Construction, Buddy Conrad’s Texaco, and Terry Fairchild at Fairchild’s Feed & Supply until his retirement. While working in town, he found time to farm, raise livestock and kids. He always made time for his family with camping, vacations and eventually purchasing a home on Esmann Island, Guttenberg, Iowa, where they retired for four years. During that time, Robert came out retirement to work at Kann Manufacturing. Missing family and friends, in 1993, they made a home for themselves in Winthrop. It wasn’t long before he was back to work at US Suppliers, followed by AgVantage FS. As you can see, he didn’t take to retirement well. He officially retired at a young 88 years old.

Robert and Doris raised their family in St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. Their weekends were spent dancing together for countless years. They belonged to the Merry Mixers Square Dance Club and followed their son’s bands all over northeast Iowa and even Nashville! Robert loved to play cards with their many friends; there was always so much laughter around the Euchre table! Over their 73 years of marriage, they traveled to all 50 states, took cruises, were snowbirds in Texas, and even traveled as far as Ireland. Wherever Robert went, he never met a stranger; everyone was his friend. We never knew a soul so incredibly loved. In 2020, Robert and Doris moved to Oak View in Independence, where he lived out his final days.

Robert is survived by his wife, Doris Burns; daughter, Christine Clendenen, Hiawatha; sons, John (Susan) Burns, Florida/Minnesota, Jerald (Lisa) Burns, Marion; daughter, Cheryl (Steven) Burns Vito, Cedar Rapids; five grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

Robert left this world from the arms of his loving wife to his Lord’s to meet up with his parents, siblings, his son-in-law, Ray Clendenen, and friends—too many to count. We’re sure he’s drinking coffee with his best friends Don Reck and Terry Fairchild. It is nice to imagine hearing his laughter with his many wonderful friends who left before him.

The funeral will be held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Winthrop, on Monday, May 8, 2023. There will be a visitation at 9 a.m., funeral Mass at 11 a.m., followed by a luncheon at St. Patrick’s Hall. Please feel free to honor this 100% Irishman by wearing shades of green. He will be greatly missed. A private burial will be held at a later date. The family would like to thank Cedar Valley Hospice and their extraordinary care over the past year; he loved them all. We also would like to thank Iowa Cremation for their assistance.

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