Alumnus Passed Away - Ross Friederich Burns Sc'71
It is with great sadness that the family of Ross Friedrich Burns announces his sudden passing on November 30, 2015. Ross was born February 23, 1944 in Montreal, Quebec to Robert Charles and Winifred Elsie (nee Smith) Burns. After Ross’ father was a World War II casualty in France, Winifred married James Robert Staveley, they moved to Fellview Farm in Prince Edward County at Belleville, Ontario, where James and Wynne raised Ross with his sisters Anne, Barbie & Jennifer.
Ross studied geology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, where he graduated with honours in 1971. After joining Cominco, in late 1971 he met the love of his life Ann Bishop at the Nathan Phillips Square ice rink in Toronto, and Ross and Ann were married in October 1972. His wife blessed him with three sons. They made their home in Ajax, Ontario and Ross continued his work as an exploration geologist with Cominco, spending much time in the “bush territory” of arctic Canada, as Ross liked to refer to his early career. Ross and Ann moved with Cominco to Pine Point in the Northwest Territories, where they spent 1980 to 1986 with their growing family. In 1986, the Burns family returned to Oakville, where Ross joined his future business partner, Peggy Kent Witte, at Witteck Development. Ross spent much of the next 25 years in the mining industry with Peggy in Vancouver, British Columbia and in Washington State, developing junior companies including Neptune Mining, Royal Oak Mines and Century Mining Corporation. In 2010 Ross and Ann returned to Ann’s family home in Gravenhurst, Ontario.
A noted geologist and respected veteran of the mining industry, Ross has been described by colleagues as “having the innate ability to quickly understand whether a deposit could be economic based upon geologic fundamentals”. He was instrumental in the discovery and development of the Polaris, Colomac and Kemess deposits.
Ross enjoyed educating and mentoring others in geology, was an avid investor, farmer and boater, and was “Mr. Fix-it”. He will also be remembered for his love of, and sense of duty to family, his sharp intellect, and sense of humour. At the time of his passing Ross was looking forward to the birth of his first grandchild. Ross is survived by his loving wife Ann, and sons Ian, Russell (Shagana) and Robert (Regina), and by his sisters Anne Phillips and Jennifer Staveley (Keith Watson). He is predeceased by beloved sister Barbara Wynne Kormos (2011).
Ross will be missed by his many friends, colleagues and business associates. Cremation has taken place. A memorial service and celebration of Ross’ life will be held Saturday, December 12, 2015 at 1:00pm at Belleville Funeral Home, 68 North Front Street, Belleville, Ontario. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, remembrances be given by donations in Ross Burns’ name to the Geological Field Studies Fund at Queen’s University, c/o Lorna Dumond, Geological Sciences and Engineering, Bruce 240, Miller Hall, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, K7L 3N6.