A History of the Burns Family
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D.A.Burns & Sons  

OVERVIEW
1 - D.A. Burns
2 - Big Lake
3 - Ada & Guy
4 - Ebba & Elna
5 - Don & Helen
6 - Dave & Wilma
7 - Bob & Betty

Farewell


With its three sons on deck, not to mention a couple of daughters-in-law, D.A. Burns continued climbing toward its eventual status as the largest rug-cleaning establishment west of the Mississippi.  The company eventually moved to a new and larger facility in Ballard, where it still stands today. In fact, I can see its green-and-blue painted logo from my apartment.

By 1960, Dave was the only one of Guy and Ada’s offspring still working at the company.  Don had embarked on his life’s work as a teacher, and Bob headed to the University of Washington to finish his interrupted degree and attend medical school.  But neither broke the bonds completely. Don worked at the firm – designing and sewing custom rugs – after he retired from a long career with the Seattle Public Schools, while Bob served on the corporate board even during the busiest years of his practice as a Group Health pediatrician.  Long after he bestowed the business helm on Dave, Jr. in 1954, Guy kept his oar firmly in the company’s daily affairs, visiting frequently until he was in his late 80s.  Dave, Jr. did the same after turning over the business to a new CEO and "retiring." He and Wilma settled into a condominium on west Phinney Ridge from which he could see the company logo painted on the top of the building.

At 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 25, 1958, KING-TV, then an ABC affiliate, aired a segment on D.A. Burns, as part of a series called "Success Story." This was basically a free half-hour of unremittingly positive advertising, which probably did as much as anything to cement the company's already excellent reputation.

 


Ever-changing readerboard at the Leary NW location

But the message of that long-ago television special is just as apt more than half a century later.  For it was the indefatigable energy and determination of the Burns clan in the ‘30s and ‘40s that laid the groundwork for the high esteem in which the firm is held today.  The Burnses had more appetite for hard work than aptitude for management, so the company did not actually begin to make a lot of money, or so it seemed to Bob Burns, until Richard Dix took over the reins in 1976.

But there is no question that if Guy and Ada were around today to see what their efforts produced, they would be mighty proud.


Current location at 4411 Leary Avenue NW

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