Walter James Burns Jr., 90
Walter James Burns Jr., 90, of Hayden Lake, Idaho, passed away on Dec. 22, 2017, while vacationing in Las Vegas, Nev. Jim was born in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on Dec. 19, 1927, to Walter and Beatrix (Bacon) Burns.
Jim graduated from the University of Idaho in 1952 and was drafted into the Army in 1954, where he was stationed at Fort Benning, Ga. While he was attending church he spotted a tall, beautiful blonde and told his friend he was going to marry that girl. Jim and LaRue Tennyson were married three short months later on May 19, 1956, in Columbus, Ga. Jim worked on the biological study of parasitic diseases and helped to develop cures and treatments for the troops. The newlyweds moved back to Coeur d’Alene following his honorable discharge from the Army in 1956.
Upon his return to Coeur d’Alene, he began his career as a professor at North Idaho College, where he contributed 30 years of his life teaching future health caregivers. Jim taught anatomy, biology and physiology, and was the head of the life sciences department. He is still remembered to this day as “one tough teacher who expected a lot of his students.” He announced the Cardinal basketball games, led the NIC pep band and many other contributions to the college during his time with NIC.
During this period, he also served 23 years on the board of the Panhandle Health District, fighting for the low-income citizens of Kootenai County and the environment of our community. Even though he contributed in so many ways to this community, he was most proud of the fact that he was a rare second generation Idahoan. His father was born in the Lewiston area in 1879, when Idaho was still a territory before statehood. He owned Burns Photography Studio in Coeur d’Alene and served on the NIC College Board of Directors for many years. When he was just 14, Jim and his father built a log home on Hayden Lake, where he would spend his summers swimming, fishing and riding horses. He was proud to be a Coeur d’Alene High School Viking and a University of Idaho Vandal.
He and LaRue built a home in 1973 and lived on Hayden Lake until his death. He loved to go four-wheeling with his kids, spending time in the spectacular natural world that Idaho has to offer, and swimming in Hayden Lake with his beloved dog Charlie.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Beatrix Burns; brother, Gilbert Burns; sisters, Ruth Donaldson and Laura Ambrose and son, Walter James Burns, III.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, LaRue; son, David and daughter-in-law, Lauri (McNeese) of Las Vegas, Nev; daughter, Robbie Burns and son-in-law, Kevin Mansfield of Coeur d’Alene; grandson, Nicholas Burns of Orlando, Fla.; granddaughter, Amanda Wagner of Alma, Mo., and great-granddaughters, Kenadee and Scout Wagner.
Jim requested that no services be held. We believe he would have wanted you to spend time with your family, exploring and learning about Idaho, and doing something to serve this great place we call home.