Obituary: Dr. Donald A. Burns May 24, 2021

DONALD A. BURNS May 24, 2021

Dr. Donald A. Burns, age 92, passed away May 24, 2021.  Born and raised in Alexandria Bay, NY, he grew up announcing on the tour boats of his beloved St Lawrence River throughout the Thousand Islands.

Don attended Central College (Pella IA), Syracuse Univ (AB), Univ of Puget Sound (MS), and Purdue Univ (PhD). Dr. Burns has worked at National Cash Register (Dayton, OH), Dover Medical Research Center (Dover, DE), Abbott Laboratories (N Chicago, IL), Technicon Instruments Corporation (Tarrytown, NY), and retired from Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1995.

Dr. Burns was awarded nine patents, had 10 additional inventions, authored numerous book chapters, wrote dozens of journal articles, and gave scores of presentations on such subjects as Near-IR, automated sample preparation, and automation/computerization of analytical schemes, many incorporating Segmented Flow Analysis in combination with chromatography. He won an IR-100 award for FAST-LC (Fully Automated Sample Treatment for Liquid Chromatography). He was senior editor of the “Handbook of Near-Infrared Analysis” and in 1990 received the Eastern Analytical Symposium Award in Near-Infrared Spectroscopy.

Don was also a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, American Guild of Organists, American Chemical Society, and Boy Scouts of America. He had many other interests including cinematography, videography, genealogy, boating,  music and piloting single engine planes. He also served in the US Air Force 1951-53, stationed at Grenier and Wright-Patterson Air Development.

Don met Linda Foard and after only 12 dates they were engaged, marrying on March 16, 1963 in Dover, DE. They have three children, Douglas Burns (Imogene) of Melbourne, FL, Trudi Patterson (Steven) of Westwood, KS, and McAndrew Burns (Rene) of Astoria, OR. He has 6 grandchildren, Courtney Grayson (David) of Ashburn, VA, Lauren Hartline (Jacob) and Kristen Hoffower (Jeremy), both of Melbourne, FL, Miles Patterson of Westwood, KS, Rachel Fackler and Donovan Burns of Astoria, OR. Don was preceded in death by his parents, Ishmael and Agnes (Makepeace) Burns, infant brother Richard, and sister Shirley Ochs. He is survived by his sisters, Marcelyn Young of Bridgewater, NJ and Mary Ellen Lyon (James) of Bloomfield, NY.

There will be a private burial in Alexandria Bay, NY. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to White Rock Presbyterian Church at or the Los Alamos Retired & Senior Center at in Don’s name.

Arrangements by Rivera Family Funeral Home. To share a memory, please visit our website at