Obituary: Ronald John Burns, former Darien resident
Ronald J. Burns (Ron), former Darien resident, passed away on Monday, March 12, 2018 in Jacksonville, FL. He was born in Fall River, Mass. on December 8, 1927, the oldest child of Lawrence and Adrienne Burns.
Ron excelled in academics and sports during his youth in Fall River. He was valedictorian of his high school class and voted Most Likely to Succeed. He was drafted after high school into the U.S. Army and served after World War II. After an honorable discharge, he graduated from Brown University, magna cum laude, with a degree in economics in 1951. He later continued his studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
Ron launched his successful finance career starting as an analyst for J.P. Morgan, specializing in the oil industry, and then working at Amerada Hess. He later served as a financial executive at the company now known as CIGNA. In 1964, he joined the Home Insurance Co. in New York City, where he rose to Executive Vice President, serving as Corporate Treasurer and Chief Investment Officer. In 1978, he joined the Bank of Boston as Chief Investment Officer. In 1985, he moved to Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., where he founded Augustine Asset Management in Jacksonville, which grew rapidly to become a successful financial management firm. Ron served as its Chief Executive Officer for several decades before retiring when in his 80s. He also served as a corporate Director at Amerifirst Bank in Miami, becoming interim Chief Financial Officer and acting Chief Executive Officer. Ron served on many corporate Boards during his career, including Dartmouth National Bank, and was a former Trustee of Brown University.
Ron was a gifted athlete, and a lifelong avid golfer who for years maintained a single-digit handicap. He golfed at most of the world’s great courses, from Augusta National to Pebble Beach to Gleneagles in Scotland. He was a member of Wee Burn Country Club and the Shorehaven Golf Club, serving on many committees, as well as a member of Sawgrass Country Club, The Ponte Vedra Inn & Club and The Plantation Country Club in Florida. Ron also enjoyed playing tennis, taking family ski vacations, was a voracious reader, an enthusiastic movie buff, a competitive bridge player, and travelled the globe.
He is survived by his wife, Carol, of Jacksonville, and four children: Diana Burns Derivan (Steve) of Norwalk, Conn.; Donna Charlton (William) of New Vernon, N.J.; Rebecca Burns of Chicago, Ill; and Greg Burns (Lisa) of Wilmette, Ill. He is survived by seven grandchildren: Elizabeth Mendez (Mike), Laura Spiegel (Keenan), Bill Charlton, Vanessa Charlton, Matt Burns, Jenny Burns, Lindsey Burns, and one great-grandchild, Emily Mendez, He also is survived by his sisters Pauline Gill (Tom) and Madeleine MacDonald (Frank) several nieces and nephews, as well as his former wife, Trudy Burns. He was preceded in death by his brother Robert in 2017, and his parents Lawrence and Adrienne Burns.
A Memorial Service will be held in April in Jacksonville, FL.