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Mark James Burns

Mark Burns, 62, passed away March 6, 2016 in Medford, Ore. He was born June 18, 1953 to Jack and Sally (Higinbotham) Burns in Medford. He lived and worked in the Rogue Valley his entire life.

Mark graduated in 1971 from Crater High School in Central Point, Ore. He married his high school sweetheart, Darcy Lea Eldridge, July 13, 1970. They had two children and enjoyed 45 years of wonderful memories.

Mark found his passion at an early age after becoming a volunteer firefighter at 16 years old. He was hired full-time by Jackson County Fire District #3 in July 1971 and was soon promoted to Engineer and then Captain with the Fire District, setting the gold standard for others in these roles. Mark began teaching at Rogue Community College and was quickly tasked with working as the Fire Science Program Coordinator on his days off from the Fire District.

Mark was hired by Medford Fire-Rescue as a Shift Battalion Chief in 1982. In 1990, he served as the Training Chief and was promoted to Operations Chief in 1991, becoming responsible for all emergency fire and rescue response in the City of Medford. He held this position for almost 20 years. During this period he was also responsible for the Oregon State Fire Marshal Region 8 Hazardous Materials Response Team and the City of Medford Emergency Management, served on a statewide Incident Management Team for the Oregon Department of Forestry, and provided assistance to fire agencies across the northwest as a consultant for Emergency Services Consulting International. He served as president for the Rogue Valley Fire Chief’s Association and the Rogue Interagency Training Association and was a member of the National Fire Protection Association, Oregon Fire Chief’s Association, International Association of Fire Chiefs, and Oregon Emergency Management Association.

Well known in the Fire Service as a leader, Mark's key strengths were in fire ground tactics and strategy and incident command.  Mark had the respect and trust of both Firefighters and Chief Officers with his wit, passion, knowledge, and leadership.

He earned a Fire Science Technology degree at Rogue Community College, a Certificate in Fire Services Administration at Western Oregon University, completed the four year Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy in Maryland, and held numerous certifications from the Department of Public Standards and Training.

Mark was an incredibly innovative man to which his home and yard attest.  His pastimes included building things, tinkering, volunteering with numerous organizations, camping, flying as a licensed pilot, snowmobiling, water skiing, boating, mid-year Corvettes, collecting guns, going to the air races in Reno, and peaceful motor home trips. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t fix or re-engineer because he knew that he could make something better. Mark was a true friend and mentor to almost everyone he worked with and knew. He was an extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individual with many gifts and talents.

During the August 24, 2010 Oak Knoll Fire in Ashland, Mark suffered severe smoke inhalation which caused him to accept a medical retirement in 2011. His suffering from this injury ultimately led to his untimely passing.

Mark is survived by his wife, Darcy; his son, Trevis (Janell); his daughter, Karlie; eight grandchildren, Kristyn, Eryn, Zachary, Kayla, Payshens, Braylon, Brittney, and Casey; his mother, Sally Burns; his sister, Patty Moser (Tim); his brother, John Burns; and his three nieces and four nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, Jack Burns.

There will be an open house gathering to celebrate this amazing man, Saturday, May 21, 2016 at Mark and Darcy’s home, 3458 New Ray Rd., Central Point. Anyone who knew Mark is welcome to come by anytime after 1:00 p.m. to share stories and laugh as we give honor to the incredible life Mark lived. 

Mark James Burns