J. Robert Burns, 83, of Danville, PA died peacefully on April 30, 2021 at
his home surrounded by family. Born July 7, 1937 in Norristown, PA, he was
a son of the late Jesse E. P. and Ruth E. (Holt) Burns.
Bob was a graduate of Royersford High School, 1959 graduate of Ursinus
College and a 1963 graduate of Hahnemann Medical School. He initially
wanted to join his father in general practice but the Vietnam War
intervened. After completing his medical residency at the Lahey Clinic
under the Berry Plan, he joined the Air Force at USAF Hospital Scott for two
years followed by a research fellowship at the Mayo Clinic. He and his wife
Janet (Kirchhof) Burns moved to Danville in 1971 where he joined the
Department of Pulmonary Medicine at Geisinger Medical Center.
Dr Burns founded the Department of Critical Care Medicine and developed a
model of care within the Intensive Care Unit that was unique among this
country’s teaching hospitals. It was visionary, reflecting basic elements
of the Geisinger Culture, a model in which a full-time staff of dedicated
intensivists work side-by-side with physicians and surgeons of multiple
specialties caring for critically ill patients. This closed staff,
multi-disciplinary model of care is now recognized as the ideal standard of
He enjoyed fishing, hunting, bicycling, hiking and golf. He was an avid
reader and enjoyed traveling and spending time with his family and
grandchildren at their vacation home in Cammal on Pine Creek.
Surviving are his wife, Janet (Kirchhof) Burns of Spring City, his son Bryan
Douglas Burns of Haymarket, VA and his wife Suzanne (Slease) Burns of
Milton, three grandchildren – Whitney Elizabeth Burns, Kellie Suzanne Burns
and Jackson E.H. Burns; a brother, Bruce L. Burns , his wife Norma, and
sister Barbara Jean Urner and husband David.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date at the convenience of the
family and burial will be held privately at the Cammal Community Cemetery.
Those wishing to honor Bob’s life may make a donation to the Northcentral
Pennsylvania Conservancy, PO box 2083, Williamsport, PA 17703 – an
organization near to his heart.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Visneski Funeral Home 42 W
Mahoning Street Danville PA 17821.
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