In Memory of David Boswell Burns
28 March 1909 - 23 Aug 1990
David Burns Retires
David Burns Dies
Plaque In Honor
Dave Burns, Culver & the Academy
David Burns & CMA
| This wreath should be hanging on David's tombstone from the widow - but certain
family members will not allow it and if anything is put up by the widow it will be ripped off by them as they have done with others that were put there in
| Fishing Ode
Since there is five time as much water as dry landon earth,
Any fool can plainly see that the good Lord meant for man to fish five times as much as he works.
David loved Lake Maxinkuckee - he was a die hard fisherman. He was on the lake year around. When ice fishing came around he was
the first one onto the lake and the last one off. He knew where all the great fishing spots were.
He always had a story about the "Big One" that got away.... only he could tell those.
Don Wagner - then pastor of Grace Church - at his funeral said:
"David Burns came to Culver with his mother and father in 1915 when he was six years old. He learned the trade of masonary from
his father. When he and his father were laying the brick for the railroad depot, Dave would lay it, and his father would take it back - -
until he got it right...Then there was his love of fishing and the lake. Dave always had a lot of fish stories. He was one of the first
one to put a line on the ice and one of the last to take a line out in the spring." continued the pastor. "Then he called and fed
ducks every day...David has taught us all something about living. And he has left this world a better place by having been here"
One memorable moment I remember was the stringer full he brought home - after calling Bud Lewis, Ken Walters and George Hopple Sr., and no response -
he left the stinger f ull of fish in the backyard by the telephone pole and we went to Adler's to get a cup of coffee and doughnut. When we p ulled into
the drive way - a neighborhood cat was making off with the last fish off the stringer! Believe it or not it actually happened!
Who can forget the 'Blizzard of '78' ? Well after the fact David went and bought a snowblower - the next year he could not wait to use it - the first light
snow he was out there blowing snow - more dirt etc. than snow - from then on it was a race with the neighbor Fred Ph ulgh as to who could could beat
who up in the morning and get the walks - plowed or blowed off - needless to say Fred won more times than David - Fred had a garden tractor with a snow
He had a firend install the old 1919 Republic fire bell underneath the hood of his truck - he loved to ring it at people while going down the street - - it onery
enough - while parked he waited till they got right up in front of the truck and would ring it making them jump. The only thing he hated about it was that
we could tell when he arrived home or near the house - it would clang with the ruts, chuck holes etc. in the road and driveway much to his anoyance.
|| The last couple year - he 'fed the ducks' before or after he came from fishing |
He docked his boat on the lake on Mill Street (the peir was located just at the base of the big old tree in the background) here:
At the time the property belonged to 'Bob' Hodges
. He built the round stone plant in
the foreground in 1984 for Dean 'Skip' Smith. He would 'quack' to bring the duck in and they would in turn 'quack' him on to and off of the
lake. He even taught some very expensive talking parrots to quack" much to the chargin of their owner - Dean 'Skip' Smith
|He enjoyed going down to Hansen's and drinking coffee, telling yarn's of Culver 's yesterdays here
he is on a Saint Patrick's day - and yes the hat was fitting as his great-grandparent's Thomas were from Ireland
transplanted into Scotland.
||Just visible "Brownie"; David , Emory Kenny and George Wilkins|
|Rod Martindale and David with the "BIG" salmon he caught in Lake Miichigan;
Rod got him to go only one time
From 1975 - he made annual treks either in January or February to Fort Mayer Beach Flordia to fish with
Culverites Berl "Mac" McFeeley and Emory Kenny who wintered there; his last trip was in 1998; he tried
going in Janaury 1989 but got as far as Bunker Hill (Grissom Air force Base) as he had been sick and was
Another incident was the time daughter Susie ice skated out to middle of the lake to ask for money - only a couple of
dollars but by the time she left with the help of other fisherman nearby anteing up the amount she made off like a
bandit - among them were Rod Martindale, - Dale Sensibaugh and many others. Telling dad that she deserved more
than the couple of dollars that she had asked for as she had skated all the way out there and would have to skate
all the way back in. Of course mom was accused of telling her where dad was - but had not.
Another incident was during ice fishing when a certain party - shot of a fire work over David's head on the frozen l
ake, the noise vibrating over the lake - it shook the house - even on Main Street rattling items on the
David died at home - unoffically - 419 South Main St.
where he wanted to the way he wanted to - He was working down at Robert Kreuzbergers - and come home for
lunch and then wnet back to work and drove him self back home having the heart attack by what his workers
explained to me - WHY did he not stop or go to Eunice's on Long Point where she was living at the time - WHY
because he did not want to - he wanted be be home - he wanted to died at home if that was going to happen
where he had lived the last 46 years 5 months of his life - HOME - not any where else - he did not want to go to
a nursing home - his pat phrase for that was: "Go get a new rope and I'll hang myself" Yes legally it was the hospital
Then there was sometime during the early summer of 1990 when Rod Martindale - threw a beer to David and he could not
get a full good catch with the fishing net from a sitting position - so he stood up and was standing on his pants hems -
details omitted - but needless to say he got a standing ovation from all around and it was during one of the regatta's and
of course no one had a camera!
He left his imprint on the lake too through the retaining walls,
sea walls both stone & cement
, cement and a few just stone & dirt. He left his imprint on the cottages also and their
surrounding landscape. He was an all round mason - brick, stone, cement, tile and stucco. No job was to small nor too big;
when challenged that circular staircase of stone could not be built - he done it. No area of the lake or the Academy
was left untouched by his handy work while he was alive it is believed through the years. How much of his handi-work is left
around the lake is un-known - since it is the rage to buy property at high $ and raze it and build bigger better and out do thy
Once and awhile on a job of repairing or rebuilding an old crumbling wall, one could come up on him from behind and hear him
muttering under his breath, giving the former builder all the what too he could for building a nearly indestructible wall - saying
if he only knew who built it - - then silence would fall as he stumbled upon the signature of the builder, no more being said
as he had found the builder - HIMSELF! He always signed his work in some manner.
During the last years when asked as to when he would be on the job - the reply was: "I'll be there Tuesday" or just "be there
Tuesday"; with a laugh or chuckle. Much to the chagrin of those wanting the work done. There was alot of "Tuesday work "
that was left undone.
He was knowledgeable about the lake, the town and the academy and the history of the area. The Oral history he use to be able
to tell everyone was miraculous. But sadly tho no one was able to get him to sit own and record what he knew fully on paper or
by voice. So much of his knowledge of the area is lost forever. Some one should of chained and shackled him to the nearest
lamp post in the park overlooking the lake and made him recorded what he knew!
He retired from the Culver Military Academy; only to go to work for himself till the day he died. If he was not working at one of
the cottages around the lake - he was out fishing on the lake somewhere - and if not on the lake then he could be found in
one of the restaurants around town having coffee spinning his tales of yesterday's of Culver and it's history or that wild
fishing story of the big one that got away!
Before his retirement from Culver Academy he was working around the lake and done it f ull time from spring to late fall - he
loved that work - he gave many a job when they were without - or extra employment after hours so that they could support
their families - or during the strike period of the union at McGills again so that they could support their families.
Mel Waltes was working with David until the last month and had worked for him on and off over the years. Many worked for David
- for us over years - Mickey McFarland, 'Russ' Russel J. Salyers (he also worked with him at the Academy and took over David's
position there when he retired) now deceased, Frank Maulky now deceased, Paul Kelly, Rodney Kemple, Steve Brasch, Gary Brasch, '
Murph' Murphy Wynn, David M. Burns, Rickey Burns, David M. Burns Jr., Joe Jimenez (I believe one year for a while), Scott Croy, Gary
Yeazel, ? Boyne, ? Mc Vicker just to name a few there were many who came and went over the years and of course David even
used some of Bennett's employees over the years in a pinch. Other names may or will eventually come to mind. Others were just
one day help when cement had to be wheel barrowed from a distance to the lake front to pour a seawall - that required at least
3-4 just maning wheel barrows and with David and at least 2-3 others manning the area of the seawall pouring - it was quite an
operation to see a seawall prepared for forming, the forming of it and then the actual pouring then the removing of the forms
and finish coat to the seawall. The days of cemetn pours were long and continuous hours until the pour was completed - it meant
getting sandwiches and drinks to David and the boys so they could eat their noon meal on the run - while pouring cement.
There was the 'after hours' of David and I running back to the job site to check on it whenever cement was poured in any form or shape.
There was the time he came in with a wide band of grease mark on his one upper arm and bruised - he and been pinned between the
loader bucket and an object - which could of res ulted in his arm being severed off; the only near accident that I know of ever occuring
from his work.
His famous saying - "I'll be there Tuesday" to put off those whose jobs he had promised to do - during the evening hours and week-ends
when not working he would escape to the middle of the lake to fish to avoid the phone calls to leave me to handle them.
With this thought shortly after David died I began digging into the lake history - rather - I call it a Genealogy of the lake - this is what I
had started and hope to continue to add too if possible. Trying to put down some of the things one heard David talk of around town
and to document his stories if possible.
Has it been twenty-six? It don't seem possible... I can still see his smile - hear his laugh at times; those words "I'll be there Tuesday"
and telling someone he was just 39.