A memorial service will be held on Sept. 12 at 2 p.m. at the Washta Methodist Church, followed by interment ceremony with full military honors at the Sunset View Cemetery in Washta. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, 1202 Green Lane, Prescott, AZ 86305, or to the Washta Cemetery Association, c/o Donna Tucker, PO Box 19, Washta, IA 51061.
He was born Sept. 18, 1925, in Cherokee. During his early childhood, his family lived near Washta where his remains will be interred. He attended schools in Washta and Buckhorn, Mo., and was a graduate of the high school in Cherokee. He received an AA degree from Mount SAC in Walnut, California.
Robert entered the U.S. Army on March 22, 1944, at Camp Dodge, Iowa, and remained in the Army for 30 years. He served in World War II, the Korean War, and twice in Vietnam. He retired May 31, 1974 at Ft. MacArthur, Calif., with the rank of CW4. His awards include three Bronze Stars for meritorious service, the Combat Infantryman Badge for his service with the 69th Infantry Division during World War II, and the Legion of Merit as well as several Commendation medals, a Good Conduct Medal, and medals for the overseas campaigns in which he participated.
He served with ordinance, quartermaster, field artillery, air defense artillery, and engineer units. Much of his service was as a battalion supply officer. He later worked for Marshall Industries in El Monte, Calif., for 17 years.
After retiring from the Army, Bob and his wife Shirley lived in Hacienda Heights, Calif.. When Shirley retired from teaching in 1994, they moved to Prescott, where they have lived the past 15 years. Bob was an active member at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church until he began to have health problems. He and Shirley directed the youth group for several years, and he also volunteered many hours doing landscaping and church maintenance work. The last few years he has been mostly confined to his home.
Robert was preceded in death by his parents Lloyd and Mary (Ralston) Burns of Washta, an infant brother, his first wife Iphigenia, and his sister Lois (Burns) Peters.
He is survived by his wife Shirley Balzum Burns, and three children from his previous marriage, son Norman and his wife Barbara of Ames, daughter Sharon and her husband Dennis Gibson of Madrid, daughter Carla Jean and her husband Edward Hanson of Des Moines, and his sister Donna and her husband Arlen Tucker of Washta. He also has nine grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. Surviving in-laws are Lowell Balzum and his wife Cathy, Kenneth Balzum and his wife Karen, Beverly Greene and her husband Charles, Marilyn Groth and her husband Merlyn, and Richard Balzum.