Charles Marshall Burns

STEUBEN – Charles Marshall Burns, 94, died Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016, at Seaport Village Healthcare in Ellsworth following a brief illness.

A veteran of World War II, Charles was born in Ilion, N.Y., to Stephen and Wilhelmina (Winnie) Burns and raised in Waterbury, Conn. He left high school early to join the war effort and served in the 441st Joint Assault Signal Company (JASCO), setting up telephone communications during beach landings in the Solomon Islands, New Guinea and the Philippines.

After the war, Charles returned to Waterbury and in 1946 married Ruth Eleanor Whitney in a ceremony at Bunker Hill Congregational Church where they were long-time members. In 1954, Charles and Ruth moved to Woodbury, Conn., and raised their three children there. Ruth passed away in 2001 and Charles soon resettled to Milbridge, and later, Steuben, near his two sons.

Charles spent his early working life at Scovill Manufacturing Company in Waterbury, Conn., learning tool and die making. He built a career in the manufacturing sector as a quality inspector, working for Wheeler Electronics, General Electric, International Nuclear Safeguards, United Technologies Co. and Combustion Engineering, among others. In the 1960s, he worked on the gyroscopes used in the auxiliary guidance systems for the Apollo missions, which proved critical for bringing the crew of the “failed” Apollo XIII mission safely back home.

His many hobbies included photography, model making, gardening, and gun collecting. In his later years, he enjoyed exploring his adopted state and produced several watercolors of the Maine coast.

Charles leaves three children, Robin Burns and his wife, Joan (Steuben); Randall Burns (Harrington); Bonnie Burns and her wife, Joyce Hamel (Silver Spring, Md.); his grandson Timothy Burns (Philadelphia, Pa.), and his nephews Stephen Cotant (Highland, N.Y.) and Douglas Cotant (Salt Lake City, Utah) and their families.

Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Charles M. Burns. Arrangements entrusted to Bragdon-Kelley Funeral Home in Milbridge. Memories may be shared at

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