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John P. Burns

June 2, 2022

John P. BurnsJohn P. Burns, 62, Watertown passed away at his cottage in the town of Lyme Thursday, June 2, 2022.

John was born in Watertown, son of former Watertown Mayor Karl R. and Rosemary L. (Lawrence) Burns. He was a 1978 graduate of Immaculate Heart Central School. He then attended Jefferson Community College before attending and graduating from Canton Police Academy.

John started his career serving the tri-villages of Brownville, Dexter, and Glen Park under Robert Thomas and was police chief in Alexandria Bay. In February 1983 John joined the Jefferson County Sheriff's Dept. and in four years was promoted to Detective, serving as an arson investigator and on the Metro-Jefferson Narcotics Task Force. In 2002 he was elected Jefferson County Sheriff, serving for twelve years until his retirement in 2014.

On August 27th, 1983 John married Roxanne Moore. While their marriage ended in divorce to the former Watertown Councilwoman, they were always proud of the two children that they had together.

John was a communicant of St. Patrick's Church. He was a member of the Italian American Civic Association, Elks Lodge 496, Ancient Order of the Hibernians, and NYS Retired Sheriff's Association. He enjoyed carpentry, fishing, boating, and animals.

John is survived by his mother, Rosemary L. Burns, Watertown; two sons, K. Colin Burns and Dane P. Burns, both of Watertown; two sisters, Kathleen A. Burns, Watertown and Nancy L. and husband Thomas M. Blake, Pillar Point; sister-in-law Mary Ann Burns, VT; brother-in-law Edward Amelio, Watertown; aunts and uncles, Patricia Murnane and husband Jim, Audrey Lawrence, Josephine Burns, and Allen Walker; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was predeceased by his father, Karl R., 2001 and his brother James D., 2007.

Calling hours will be held at Cummings Funeral Service, Inc., Watertown on Thursday, June 9, from 3 - 7pm. The funeral mass will be celebrated on Friday, June 10, at 11am at St. Patrick's Church followed by burial in Glenwood Cemetery. The funeral mass will be live-streamed on the church's Facebook page. Online condolences to John's family may be posted at www.cummingsfuneral.com. In lieu of flowers, donations in his name may be made to St. Patrick's Church, 123 S. Massey St., Watertown, NY 13601, the Italian American Civic Association, 192 Bellew Ave., Watertown, NY 13601 or your local American Diabetes Association.


#8 Michelena Hennessy 2022-06-12 13:29
Oh Kathy, I an so sorry to hear about your brother. My deepest sympathies.
Mickie Lanzione Hennessy
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#7 john Howard 2022-06-12 09:54
Rosemary, our prayers are with you.
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#6 MA Bodley 2022-06-09 10:55
We are so very sorry for the loss of your ex-husband. John was a wonderful man and I know you will miss him.
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#5 Robin Curtis 2022-06-09 06:16
My sincere sympathies to the entire family. It was of my good fortune to know and work with John. May his soul rest peacefully.
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#4 John Keenan 2022-06-08 22:17
My deepest condolences, to John's Mom, Rosemary, his family, friends, and colleagues. John was the 'kid brother', of my very best friend, from childhood, Jimmy Burns. As such, it was always a treat whenever John and I would run across each other, over the years. A consoling thought, is that John, Jimmy, and their Father, Karl, are once again reunited .
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#3 Karen Terry 2022-06-06 19:00
Sincere and heartfelt sympathy to Rosemary, Kathie and Nancy. John was a kindhearted soul that would do anything for you. He was very good to his wife Debbie during their 12 year marriage as well as to our entire family. His dedication to upholding the law and his many contributions to the community is to be admired. A great guy gone too soon. May you rest in eternal peace John. We love you…..Karen & Dave
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#2 Brian Scully 2022-06-06 18:36
I had the pleasure of knowing and working with John for many years. Even though we worked for different departments, he always treated every fellow LEO as a Brother. God Bless you and may he welcome you home Brother. My thoughts and prayers are with the Family.
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#1 Rose Reff 2022-06-06 08:55
So sorry for your loss, sending prayers and peace
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