Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Burnses in:
 • Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery
 • Hillside
 • Cook County
 • Illinois
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Discussion Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
Sponsor This Memorial!
John Michael Burns
Learn about sponsoring this memorial...
Birth: Sep. 10, 1876
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Death: Dec. 17, 1959
Cook County
Illinois, USA

John Michael Burns was born in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois on September 10, 1876. He was the son of Michael Burns and Margaret Cowhey Cagney Burns.

John married Eva Josephine Tillotson on June 29, 1904 in Chicago. They had five children.

John worked as an accountant and credit manager for the Western Electric company. He was a gentle man who loved to smoke cigars and who loved music. He played the violin and mandolin. He was also a fan of professional wrestling on television.

John met his wife Eva Josephine Tillotson while they both worked for Western Electric. Eva operated accounting machines, so it was natural they would meet. John and Eva possessed good mathematical abilities, as did Eva's sister Jennie May Tillotson. Eva also played the mandolin.

John claimed his full name was "John Michael James Joseph Patrick Henry Burns". One of the extra names may have been a confirmation name. An early school document lists his name as "John James Michael Burns." No ones know where the other names originated.

John and Eva experienced a close brush with death on Saturday, July 24, 1915. The Western Electric company was holding its annual company picnic in Michigan City, Indiana. Excursion steamers were hired as transport from Chicago to Michigan City. One of the steamers was the Eastland. John and Eva arrived just a few minutes too late to board the Eastland, which had been declared full right before they arrived. They had been delayed by a neighbor's request to help with silverware settings for her daughter's wedding. This delay proved fortunate for John and Eva. Almost immediately after all the 2,572 passengers were aboard, the Eastland tilted to one side, slowly rolling over, even though the ship was still moored to her dock between LaSalle and Clark Streets on the south bank of the Chicago River. While some passengers managed to swim to shore unharmed, 844 died. This was the single worst disaster in Chicago history in terms of loss of life.

John stayed on to help with the grisly task of recovering the bodies from the water. Eva returned home, vowing never to travel on water again. And she never did.

Like so many others, John was forced to take an early retirement as a result of the Great Depression. He retired from Western Electric in December 1933 after thirty-four years of service. Luckily by this time his daughters Grace and Margaret were employed and brought in enough money to support the family.

John habitually strolled around the neighborhood after dinner, stopping by to chat with friends, or attending a show at the local theatre. One evening his daughter Grace placed a hollowed-out orange peel on the top of his head without John realizing what she had done. He was surprised as he walked around to find that everyone was staring at him. Yet no one he spoke with during his walk mentioned the odd head ornament. He did overhear one person whispering about the "horrible wound" on his head. Not until John arrived home to peels of laughter did he realize what had happened.

John and Eva celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary in 1954. By this time Eva's health had started to deteriorate. She died two years later at her home.

After Eva died, John lived with his daughters Grace and Margaret and his sister-in-law Jennie May Tillotson Vandenberg. John died December 17, 1959 after suffering a heart attack while changing storm windows. He is buried with Eva and two of his children Margaret and Grace in Queen of Heaven cemetery in Hillside, Illinois. His son John is buried nearby with his wide Arlene. His other son Robert is buried with his wife Paulette in Calvary Cemetery, Evanston, Illinois. John and Eva's oldest daughter, Mary, who died as an infant, is buried with Eva's mother Clara Stahler Tillotson in Mount Olivet cemetery in Chicago.
Family links: 
  Michael Burns (1828 - 1907)
  Margaret Cowhey Burns (1832 - 1906)
  Eva Josephine Tillotson Burns (1878 - 1956)*
  Mary Burns (1905 - 1905)*
  Margaret Adele Burns (1906 - 1994)*
  Grace Evelyn Burns (1909 - 2001)*
  John Edward Burns (1911 - 2007)*
  Robert Francis Burns (1914 - 1999)*
  William Burns (____ - 1880)*
  James Edward Cagney (____ - 1906)**
  Grace M. Landers (1874 - 1950)*
  John Michael Burns (1876 - 1959)
*Calculated relationship
Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Maintained by: Philip R. Burns
Originally Created by: Charles King
Record added: Apr 22, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 68746057
John Michael Burns
Added by: Philip R. Burns
John Michael Burns
Added by: Philip R. Burns
John Michael Burns
Added by: Philip R. Burns
There are 3 more photos not showing...
Click here to view all images...
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.


Privacy Statement and Terms of Service