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STRUTHERS – A prayer service will be held on Saturday, May 18, 2019, at 9: 30 a.m. at the Kirila Funeral Home Inc., followed by a funeral Mass at Christ Our Savior Parish, St. Nicholas Church, at 10 a.m. for Dean A. Burns, 84, who passed away on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, at the Mike Conley Hospice House in Clermont, Fla.

He was born in Struthers on Oct. 12, 1934, the third of eight children of Herbert and Mary Burns.

He married his high school sweetheart, Nancy E. Mihalko, on Nov. 27, 1954, and she preceded him in death on Nov. 7, 2011.

Dean is survived by his devoted wife, Nancy J. Lancaster-Burns, who was by his side at the time of his death. They resided in Davenport, Fla., after their marriage on Oct. 20, 2014.

He is also survived by his six sons, Christopher (Nancy) of Howell, Mich., Daniel (Mary Louise) of Painesville, David Burns (fiancée Michele Snyder) of Northfield, Richard (Susan) of Poland, Andrew (Mary Terese) of Greer, S.C., and Alan (Justina) of Las Vegas; his 15 grandchildren, Danielle (Mike) Dixon, Rachel (Brad) Wilson, Nicole Correa, Stephanie Burns, Jennifer (Chuck Terry) Burns, Kelly (Kyle Ollis) Burns, Eric Burns, Teresa Burns, Michelle Burns, Jonathon Burns, Sarah Burns, Andrew Burns Jr., Kayleigh Burns, Maxwell Burns and Vivienne Burns; and his four great-grandchildren, Trevor and Nolan Dixon, and Helen and Walter Wilson.

Dean is also survived by his two brothers, Bob (Caroline) Burns of Tucson, Ariz., and Jim (Mary) Burns of Irons, Mich.; his two sisters, Mary Jo Holker of Englewood, Fla., and Sue Burns of Hubbard; his two sisters-in-law, Ruth (Ferry) Burns of Poland, and Martha (Groves) Burns of Marshall, Mich.; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

In addition to his parents and first wife, Nancy, he was preceded in death by three brothers, Loren Burns, Tom Burns, and Jon Burns.

Dean graduated in 1952 from Struthers High School and then entered the U.S. Navy and served three years as an Aviation Electronics Technician stationed at Chincoteague, Va. He was honorably discharged in July of 1960. Dean earned a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Youngstown State University in 1963 and did graduate work at Slippery Rock State University. He worked for the New York Central Railroad and the City of Struthers while attending YSU.

After graduation from YSU, Dean became a teacher at Fowler-Vienna schools for seven years and then transferred to the Struthers City School District, retiring in 1992. He placed a high value on providing service to others and was active in many areas. Education and coaching were a passion of Dean’s, and he coached both boys and girls in several sports, including basketball, tennis, baseball, football, and cheerleading advisor. Dean was active in the teacher’s union for more than 25 years. He served as President and Chief Negotiator for Struthers and was the President of the Uniserv chapter of the Ohio Education Association and served on many committees, always working to continually improve public education in Northeastern Ohio.

While teaching, he worked as an agent for several life insurance companies. After he retired from teaching, he joined NSS Life and worked there for 25 years, first as an agent and board member, before becoming Vice President of the company. While working for the NSS, Dean served as National Fraternal Director and earned the Fraternal Insurance Counselor designation. He had served as President and as a board member of both the Ohio FIC and the Ohio Fraternal Congress. In 2008, he was voted by the Ohio Fraternal Congress as Fraternalist of the Year. He was also the past president of the National Fraternal Congress of America Fraternal section.

Dean became involved in many community service endeavors, including serving as chairman of the City of Struthers Civil Service Commission, with responsibility for conducting examinations for every civil service position in the City and the School district. For many years, he was chairman of the Mahoning Valley Fair Housing Association, which was responsible for investigating complaints of housing discrimination and mediating disputes. He was also elected to the Struthers School Board of Education and served as President of the Struthers Federal Credit Union Board.

In later years, he volunteered his time with three Habitat for Humanity blitz builds with the NFCA, and he worked several times in assisting Jubilee Ministries in Washington, D.C.

In honor of his brother, Jon, Dean helped start the annual Jon Burns Memorial Golf Tournament and raised funds for the American Heart Association for over 25 years. Dean was also one of the founders of the Struthers Baseball League in 1956 and was an officer, coach and umpire for 20 years which currently conducts baseball for over 500 boys and girls in Struthers.

Dean’s community service included being a Lector and a Eucharistic minister while a member of the Christ Our Savior Parish (formerly St. Nicholas Church) and a third-degree Knight in the Knights of Columbus in Struthers.

The family will receive relatives and friends on Friday, May 17, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Kirila Funeral Home Inc., 258 Poland Ave. in Struthers. Burial will be at St. John Cemetery.

The family would like to thank the wonderful caregivers at the South Lake Hospital and the Mike Conley Hospice House, part of Cornerstone Hospice & Palliative Care in Clermont, Fla.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association, 840 Southwestern Run, Youngstown, OH 44514; NSS PVR Scholarship, 351 Valley Brook Road, McMurray, PA 15317; and Cornerstone Hospice House, 2100 Oakley Seaver Drive, Clermont, FL 34711.

Guestbook Entries


“My Deepest sympathy and condolences to the Burns family on the loss of their Father, Grandfather, and their GreatGrandfather. Dean was well-liked and loved throughout the community. He will be missed. ”

 » Dn. John & Mrs. Shirley Terranova on May 17, 2019

Terrific teacher

“I remember Mr. Burns fondly. he was one of my 8th grade teachers at Neal Jr. High School in Fowler, from 1968-69. Thinking of his family during this difficult time. Rest in peace, Mr. Burns. ”

 » Sherry Hafely Steiner on May 16, 2019

From the Valerio's

“To the Burns children, we send our thoughts and prayers to each of you. We will never forget how welcoming your home was to all of us or night!!! Your house had an open door where an open heart and warm smile could always be found with your mother. Your father was always surrounded by his sons. We felt like a part of your family . As our own families grew memories continued into our adult years. We so shared your sadness and loss when your Mom passed . But we continue to hold on to our reminders with high regard . Your fathers best decision in life was choosing his high school sweetheart! He chose well. We are now left with forever smiles of strawberries, card games , swimming and Fourth of July parties. Your mothers devotion to her nursing profession and to her family , added to your fathers community presence gave us all a sense of trust ,welcome, value and support. All is well in Heaven with fresh strawberries and a perfect round of golf. May your parents again together find peace, as it was in the beginning , it is now and ever shall be …………. Our love to all of you. ” ”

 » Beth Valerio on May 15, 2019

Great person and wonderful teacher

“My thoughts and prayers go to the family of Mr. Burns. I had him as a teacher while he was with the Fowler-Vienna School District. He was one of those individuals who truly cared about the "education" of his students. He made his classes realistic, objective, and thought-provoking. I always admired him both as a person and as an educator. The Education Profession was fortunate to have him as a colleague. May he Rest In Peace.”

 » Cynthia Anderson on May 15, 2019

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