Dorothy BurnsDorothy Jean Burns (84) passed away on December 30, 2015, in Kirkland on what would have been her 65th wedding anniversary. Preferring to be called ‘Dottie’, she was born to Helen and Walter Read of East Alton, Illinois, on September 11, 1931. She married the love of her life, James F. Burns, followed him to California, and then on to Washington, where they raised a large family before he passed in 2005.

She is survived by her sister, LaVonne ‘Bonnie’ Armstrong; her children: Stephanie, Mary ‘Lisa’ (Susan), James Jr. (Joleen), Michael (Jackie), Thomas (Tabitha), and Jane (Stormy); her grandchildren: Christopher, Andrew, Angela, Kaitlyn, Matthew, Mia, Lucas, Zoe, Sadie, and Alice; great-grandchildren include: Ethan, Grady, Lucas, Jackson, James, Ruby, Claire and Hugo. She adored her family; each and every one was her “favorite”.

Dottie was also proud of her career with the Lake Washington Education Association for over 20 years, where she worked with many presidents over many contract negotiations and strikes. It was important to her that she show her family a well-rounded person. She also loved to quilt, was active in her quilt guild, and created many heirlooms that she lovingly gifted to family and friends.

Nobody was a stranger with Dottie—she believed everyone needed a friend, confidant, a champion, and stepped in to fill that need. In that spirit, we know Dottie would appreciate a donation to St. Jude’s Children Hospitals; she donated regularly believing in their philosophy of finding cures and saving children.

Memorial Services will be held at Holy Family Catholic Parish in Kirkland on February 18, 2016 at 11am with a reception to follow in the Parish Hall.


  • Jane Burns-Cannon says:


    There is a hole in my heart and in my life where you used to live. Each evening as the day winds down I reach for the phone to call you. I feel the wave of grief wash over me, the pain of loss and then I think about how you have been set free. You are no longer lonely for your husband, you no longer have physical pain and you are free of worry. The joy that gives me helps with the grief but I’m too selfish for it to completely take it away.

    My devotion to you has never changed. I love you with all my heart. With each day I will strive to be as loving and supportive a mother as you were.


  • Thomas J Burns says:

    My Mother…wonderful. She is and was an example for all Mothers. She told me, when she met Tabitha (my wife), that if I messed up, I was out and she was in. I love my Mom and miss her everyday. More to follow.

  • James F. Burns Jr. says:

    Mom – Always God fearing, honest, loving and devoted to family. Thats how I’ve always felt about her. It’s a strange feeling not to have her around to tell her about the week. I’ll miss the afternoon visits were she always had me do her dishes and straighten out her fridge. The nagging me to see her grandchildren more often. The requests for a Dairy Queen Blizzard (an extra for Patty). I don’t have one long time friend that doesn’t ask me how Moms doing out of the blue. Just the coolest Mom ever. She will bring a tears to my eyes every time I think about her for a long long time. I miss you Mom your favorite child. Jimmie Jr.

  • Randy Lehr says:

    Losing a Mom is the hardest thing. My Mom also was died while in great pain.For her, it was a release, for me-well, there will be many wonderful memories. I know she is with me helping me through the tough times, delighted for me during the goo. She would be happy to know in my dreams, she’s a lot younger and can walk!
    I remember going to your parents house and seeing your Mom’s sewing room- what an adventure! The day we all went to Edmonds for fair and then lunch at Anthony’s. Jane I am positive the reason you are such a GREAT Mom is the gift your Mom gave to you-warm. loving and kind to name a few.
    I will be at the ceremony and try to remember the things you laugh when you miss her the most.
    Love to you and the family-

  • Patti McEuen says:


  • Jean Wiegand Zoelzer says:

    I was saddened recently when I heard of Dottie’s passing. When we were much, much younger we lived only a few houses apart in East Alton, Illinois. Went through grade school and high school together. I was even part of Dottie and Jim’s wedding and have many good memories of them both. Sympathy to the entire family, but I know how happy they are being together again. Love you Dottie!

  • Patrice Lyons (Orberg) says:

    Mrs. Burns is how us kids knew her mostly by and Mr. Burns back in the day. I can remember coming over to my friends house across the street or riding by on my bicycle always seeing or hearing Mrs. Burns yelling at her kids she loved so much telling them something to remind them of something or to keep out of trouble. The house was green and always seemed so big with the big picture window in front making the house look bigger. I saw Stephanie a few years back and she reminded me of when she baby sat me when I was very little. Mrs. Burns you leave a wonderful family behind you that will always love and remember you for many years to come. Thank you for sharing your family with us. My deepest condolences to the family.

  • Jackie Burns says:

    Dottie, you adopted me whole-heartedly from day one, and became the mother I should have had. Thank you for your love, the gift of your son as my husband, and your encouragement. I will miss your grace, your humor, and your sweet faith in people. I am thankful that you’re reunited with the love of your life; I know you missed Dad terribly.

  • Sherry Plogger White says:

    Stephanie, Lisa, Jimmy, Michael, Tommy, and Jane:
    I am your cousin from Illinois, one of uncle Hal’s daughters. I am the oldest girl, Steph and Lisa should remember me. Your momma was one of my favorite cousins!! I loved her to pieces, cause she loved my dad, her Uncle Hal, a whole bunch. She would always come up to see Uncle Hal and Aunt Edna when she came home to visit Uncle Pete & Aunt Helen and then Lavonne & Bill!! She even called my house on Dec. 19th, this year, and was trying to find my mom, Aunt Edna, and my mom was here and she got to talk to her. I know you all will miss her greatly, but as one of you said, she is dancing with Jim and seeing her mom & dad and whole lot of others. May God bless you kids as you go through your grieving. My mom wanted to know if I was going to go to Dottie’s memorial service. I explained…no it is in the State of Washington. My prayers will be with you all on Feb. 18th at 11:00a.m.!!! Your cuz, Sherry

  • Bob Tomkins says:

    Not one Christmas passes without thinking of the Burns family, Dottie’s eggnog, and her warm hospitality. When my own mother passed away years ago, Dottie “adopted” me and reminded me often that she was here for me. Her love is evident in the large family she and Jim raised–certainly the contribution to the world she was most proud of. I will miss Dottie but know that every Christmas I will continue to think of her and Jim around that beautiful tree enjoying their growing family.

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