Jim Burr Obituary
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In Memory of

Jim Burr

July 10, 1939 - July 18, 2014
Obituary

On Friday July 18, 2014 at Arbor Springs in West Des Moines, IA, James G. Burr, AIA, Emeritus, left us to run with the angels. A Celebration of Life in his memory will be held 11:00 a.m. Saturday, August 2 at McLaren's Funeral Chapel, 801-19th Street in West Des Moines, IA. Jim was an architect who loved his calling, a passionate photographer who could find beauty in unlikely places and objects, a graceful tennis player and a long time Toastmaster, with the gift of making people laugh. He was a joyful and tireless traveler. For nearly 50 years, in Rome, London, Sydney, or up and down the Grand Canyon, his constant companions were his...
On Friday July 18, 2014 at Arbor Springs in West Des Moines, IA, James G. Burr, AIA, Emeritus, left us to run with the angels. A Celebration of Life in his memory will be held 11:00 a.m. Saturday, August 2 at McLaren's Funeral Chapel, 801-19th Street in West Des Moines, IA.

Jim was an architect who loved his calling, a passionate photographer who could find beauty in unlikely places and objects, a graceful tennis player and a long time Toastmaster, with the gift of making people laugh. He was a joyful and tireless traveler. For nearly 50 years, in Rome, London, Sydney, or up and down the Grand Canyon, his constant companions were his camera and his wife, Karen.

As a young man he served his country with the U.S. Army in Korea during the Armistice, and valued his memories of that time. He was always and quietly a patriot who loved the country he had served.

Jim lived in and loved the southwest, especially Phoenix, AZ, where he met and married Karen and had his architectural career. That career, in its very early days, included a 1973 high rise project in Des Moines, now the Financial Center at 6th and Walnut. In 1973 it was the second tallest building in Iowa and is still the fourth highest.

Jim happily gave his life to the work he loved for over forty years and left an enduring legacy in architecture and in designing for the disabled. A happy retirement in Taos, New Mexico was cut short when he was struck down by Alzheimer's. In 2013 Jim and Karen were moved by Jim's family in West Des Moines and Lincoln, NE from Taos, NM to West Des Moines to be near his family.

Jim was born July 10, 1939 in Lincoln, Nebraska to John and Doris Burr. His early schooling was in Minnesota and in Iowa, where he graduated from Ft. Dodge High School. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in architecture architect in 1962. He is survived by his wife, Karen, sister, Jeanne Wallace (Rob) of West Des Moines, nephew, Brian Wallace, Lincoln, NE and niece, Mandy Carney (Andy), great niece and nephews, Morgan, Colton, Jackson and Deegan Carney, also of Lincoln, aunt, Pat Brandt of Phoenix, AZ, cousins, Pat Jordan (Bob) of Cardiff, CA and family, Betty Maire of Walnut Creek, CA and family, and cousin, Mary Helen Jones of Long Beach, CA, who helped with the move from Taos to West Des Moines.

He was preceded in death by his father, John W. Burr, mother, Doris W. Burr, and brother, John W. Burr, Jr.

Jim will be mourned by his family, friends in Phoenix and Taos, close friends from his days in architecture school at the University of Minnesota, and fraternity friends there as well.

Most of all he can be remembered with gratitude by every disabled person across the country because of the work he did in designing for the disabled, which he started as a project of the local American Institute of Architects (AIA) in Phoenix. He continued that work along with his architectural work through most of the rest of his life. He wrote publications on designing for the physically disabled starting in 1977 and helped write the Arizona State law in 1985, which preceded the federal law. He was frequently honored for his services to the disabled by the AIA and many organizations for the disabled.

Memorials may be directed in memory of Jim Burr to The Food Pantry, St. James Episcopal Church, 208 Camino de Santiago, 5794 NDCBU, Taos, NM 87571, 575-758-2790, Unity Point at Home Hospice, 11333 Aurora Ave., Urbandale, IA 50322, Arbor Springs, 7951 EP True Parkway, West Des Moines, IA 50266, 515-223-1135, or the School of Architecture, University of Minnesota, 145 Rapson Hall, 89 Church Street, Minneapolis, MN 55455, 612-624-7866.

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"Dear Karen, We were so saddened to learn of Jim's death. The two of your shared a wonderful life together. You and your family will be in our thoughts...."

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