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Jimmy "Jim" Burns '57 December 13, 2019 2:00 PM updated: December 13, 2019 2:04 PM

Baker Funeral Homes obituary
634 S. Columbia Drive
P.O. Box 847
West Columbia, TX 77486
Toll-Free: 1-800-745-3233
Phone: (979) 345-3232
Fax: (979) 345-3321

Jimmy Clay Burns, M. D.
July 16, 1935 - December 5, 2019

Jimmy Burns entered this life July 16, 1935 in Brownwood, Texas. He was the eldest son of Clay and Ollie Belle Burns. He departed this life on December 5, 2019 at the age of 84.

During his childhood he lived in Brownwood and during his senior year in High School, his father’s work for the Santa Fe Railroad took the family to Sweetwater, Tx. He graduated from Sweetwater High School and left immediately to attend college at Texas A&M. He was a member of the Corp of Cadets at A&M and during his third year was accepted into medical school at Baylor University College of Medicine with a full scholarship. Jimmy resigned his military commission to attend medical school in Houston. He graduated with honors from Baylor Medical School in 1960. After completing his General Medicine residency at Jefferson Davis Hospital, he first worked with a group of General Practitioners in Galena Park, south of Houston. In his first year there, he was notified his draft notice was on the way, so immediately signed a contract to join the United States Navy. His naval service as the ship’s medical officer took him from San Diego, California to Korea and subsequently his ship helped move some of the first troops into Vietnam.

Upon his honorable discharge from the Navy in 1963, Dr. Burns began his search for a small town that needed a doctor. He was warmly greeted in West Columbia and decided this small town was where he wanted to practice and raise his children. He moved to West Columbia in 1964 and joined Dr. Bill Greenwood. He later built his own clinic on Dance Drive. During his career in West Columbia the most looming challenge was the fact that there was no local hospital. Dr. Burns was instrumental in the building of the Sweeny Community hospital where he admitted the first patient, delivered the first baby and performed the first surgery. Before he stopped delivering babies, he had delivered almost 3,000. In later years, he was on the staff of the Angleton Danbury Hospital as well. When anyone asked what kind of doctor he was he always replied, “I’m just an old country doctor” and those who had the privilege of working with him or being treated by him, loved him for that reason.

His greatest joy was seeing and treating multiple generations of families who became really good friends. From delivery rooms to nursing homes, Dr. Burns saw that the needs of his patients were met. He missed seeing his patients after he retired.

Always mindful of community, Dr. Burns served the West Columbia area by helping start the first library in the old Galloway bank building, served as Rotary President, was the Columbia Roughneck team physician for many seasons. He also served on the First Capitol Bank board during the construction of the new bank building. Through both a community need and a vision for the future of health care, he was instrumental in building the first FAA approved Life Flight landing pad in West Columbia located behind the Columbia Clinic.

After partnering with the University of Texas in Galveston, Dr. Burns continued to work as medical director of the former Columbia Clinic while UTMB Family Health Care Clinics managed and supported the practice. It was his hope that this joint partnership would solidify the future medical care for the little town he loved. As is evident, the business of medicine often gets in the way of caring for patients, so in 1999, Dr. Burns left the clinic he had built and retired. Shortly afterwards, the University closed the clinic and never reopened it.
Retirement was full—enjoying his second passion—fishing and also woodworking in his shop. Kindly referred to as “Doc” by the staff at Manor Lake he joined the guide staff in 2002. He guided both fishing and hunting for many years and continued to maintain the fishing equipment after he quit full time guiding. He was happiest when he was on the water. When he was not fishing, his workshop was busy. He made hundreds of children’s puzzles for day cares, the Women’s Center, Project Christmas Child boxes, and for friends. He also made Christmas and other seasonal yard decorations. Even after a heart attack and stroke, he never was one to just sit down. If he was sitting, he was playing solitaire or reading a book. He never quit learning, and up to the last, was still doing online continuing medical education lessons and reading the latest medical journals.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 38 years, Deborah Cariker Burns, of Richmond; son, Clay Brooks Burns and wife Paula of Houston; son, Ty Rolland Burns and partner Michael Calderon of Pearland; daughter, Kaylynn Burns of Friendswood, and son, Guy Akin Burns and partner Tom Parker of Oakland, California. He was blessed to have two granddaughters, Devan Burns and great-grandchildren, Mason and Taylor Cox of Mountain Home, Tx; and granddaughter, Colleen Kay Matocha and husband Clint Matocha, of Angleton. He is also survived by sisters, Olga Dugan and husband, Dr. Paul Dugan of Roseville, California and Joan Turner Jolly of Huntsville, Texas; along with sister-in-law, Judy Burns of West Columbia; and Ann Locke, the mother of his children. Other relatives include his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Bill and Lynne Cariker of Austin; as well as brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Leigh and Judy Cariker of Ft. Worth; along with numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, and his brother, Donald Wayne Burns, and numerous Aunts and Uncles.

Visitation will be held Tuesday, December 10, 2019 from 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm at Baker Funeral Home in West Columbia. Funeral services will be held 11:00 am Wednesday, December 11, 2019 at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. Burial will follow at Cedar Lawn Haven of Rest.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that memorials be sent to Texas A&M Association of Former Students, 505 George Bush Dr. College Station, Tx 77840-2918 or the charity of your choice.


VISITATION
Tuesday
10

Dec

4:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Baker Funeral Home
634 S Columbia Dr
West Columbia, TX 77486


SERVICE
Wednesday
11

Dec

11:00 AM
St. Mary's Episcopal Church
201 E. Clay St.
PO Box 786
West Columbia, TX 77486


Cemetery Details

LOCATION
Cedar Lawn Haven of Rest
West Columbia, TX 77486


Memorial Contribution

TEXAS A&M ASSOCIATION OF FORMER STUDENTS
505 George Bush Dr.
College Station, Texas 77840


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Address

505 George Bush Drive
College Station, TX 77840

Phone Number

(979) 845-7514

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