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Russell Burns, Past Member Of Council, Dies

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Russell Burns, Past Member Of Council, Dies

Russell J. Burns, a former Ann Arbor city councilman and member of the old county Board of Supervisors, died this morning at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital after an extended illness.

The 59-year-old Burns of 406 Maple Ridge was the city’s first mayor pro tern when that office was created under terms of a new city charter in 1956. He served eight years on the City Council as a Republican representative. Later he served three years as an appointed member of the Board of Supervisors, now the county Board of Commissioners.

During his City Council service Burns was outspoken in his criticism of time-wasting during Council sessions, at one point declaring that the body had become only a “weekly debating society.” He charged that many councilmen came to meetings unprepared to discuss key matters and instead engaged in second guessing the city administrator.

A strong Republican, Burns was frequently at odds with Democrats on the City Council. His council service ran from 1952 to 1960 and at one time he was considered as a Republican nominee for the State Senate but declined to run. He was mayor pro tern for four of his eight years as a council member.

A resident of Ann Arbor for more than 40 years, Burns was a graduate of Ann Arbor High School. He was an executive with the Michigan Blue Cross at the time of his death.

Survivors include his widow, Helen; and two brothers, John of Warminister, Pa., and Robert of Portage Lake.

Memorial services are to be scheduled by the Muehlig Funeral Chapel.