OWENSBORO, Ky. - Jay Robert Burns Sr. passed away Oct. 21, 2013 with son John at his bedside. Jay was a longtime resident of Owensboro, always interested and active in the community that he loved. He will be missed.
Jay was born Sept. 4, 1920 in Butte, Montana, a mining town where his father, Jay Joseph Burns, was a mining engineer. His mother, Minnie (Matson) Burns, tended the family. The family grew by 4 girls while traveling around the country, following mining ventures and rumors of good fishing. Jay saw many homes, starting in Mexico, to Arizona, to Missouri and graduating high school in Gouverneur, New York, at age 16. He earned a metallurgy degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York in 1941. Had been captain of the Rensselaer cross-country running team, earned a pilot’s license and loved to sail around Sylvia Lake in upper NY in his sailing canoe. He earned notice early in his engineering career in Ohio for solving an aluminum processing problem, resulting in his first patent. In 1943, just before enlisting in the Army Air Corps in Austin TX as an air cadet, Jay married Betty Jane Crowe, who was then in the US Navy. In 1945, while working in Dayton Ohio, they had their first child, Jay Jr. Jay left the service in 1946, and in 1948, John was born. Jay became a magnesium specialist after being hired by Dow Chemical.
In 1951 Dow moved the Burns family to St. Louis, Missouri where Jay worked in a state of the art magnesium extrusion, casting, and rolling facility. Susan (1952) and Bill (1954) joined the family here. The Dow Plant was sold in 1968. In 1970, with their youngest son Bill still in tow, Jay & Betty moved to Owensboro, Ky where Jay headed the National Aluminum metallurgy dept. Here they found a home that would become their love and joy. Every page turned here, brought them a new gifts to enrich their lives. Jay & Betty volunteered in and contributed to many local organizations, notably the River Park Center and the Symphony. Anything Jay he liked, he went in with both feet. Sailing, running, and – finally - singing were a few of his passions (some would add recycling). Jay was Commodore of the National Y-Flyer Sailing Association, and helped create the sailing club in Owensboro. He was president of the Owensboro Running Club. Most recently he took up singing with a passion, particularly enjoying the 1st Presbyterian Church Choir. He took singing lessons at 91 to improve his voice. Jay always seemed to find ways to enjoy life and be active. He was a regular attendee at the 'No Name' club. He and Betty loved this community and were very proud of living here. Betty, his wife of 66 years, passed in 2009.
He is survived by his 4 children, Jay Jr (St. Louis), John (St. Louis), Susan (NY, NY) and Bill (Naples, FL) and 3 of his 4 sisters, Nancy Weinert, Sallie Corey, and Stella Covill. Sister Emmy Lou Wilkinson predeceased Jay. Jay felt woven into the fabric of his community, his community of friends, his interests and his pride in his town.
There will be a memorial ceremony, to enjoy his life, early next year at the 1st Presbyterian Church, Owensboro. An announcement will be published.
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