Celebrating the Life of Jim Burnett, a Leader for Respiratory Health

May it be said, when the sun sets on your life,
you made a difference.

May 17, 2017 - The Lung Association is celebrating the life of an outstanding volunteer for the Lung Association.  Jim Burnett passed away today surrounded by family.  He served The Lung Association for over 40 years. 

In 1963 he received an honorary life membership in the Saskatchewan Anti-Tuberculosis League (which later changed its name to the Saskatchewan Lung Association) for his service as the volunteer chairman of the community tuberculosis survey of Swift Current.  He became a member of the Saskatchewan Lung Association board of directors on June 25, 1981, serving as chair of the Public Relations Committee and for more than 12 years on the Finance Committee.  Mr. Burnett also served as Volunteer President from 1988 to 1997 and continued for many more years as the past chair.  In addition to serving on the provincial board, Mr. Burnett was the Saskatchewan representative on the national board of the Canadian Lung Association from 1994 to 2002.  Two of those years he held the position of national chair. 

On June 12, 1998, Jim was awarded the Ken More award by the Saskatchewan Lung Association.  This award was the highest award that was bestowed by the Association at the time.  It was given to persons who rendered distinguished service and leadership.

In 2002, Jim was instrumental in the creation of the Lung Foundation.  The Foundation was formed with a specific focus of collecting and managing an endowment fund to ensure long-term funding for lung health activities in Saskatchewan. That same year, on April 25, 2002, Mr. Burnett was presented with the Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal by the Honourable Lynda Haverstock, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan in a ceremony at the Saskatchewan Legislature to recognize his exceptional community service.

In 2008, at its 103rd Annual Meeting in Saint John, New Brunswick, the Canadian Lung Association presented its lifetime achievement award to Jim and Marj Burnett recognizing over 40 years of service to the Lung Association by the Burnett family. 

In 2012, Mrs. Marilyn Reddy, past Chairperson of the Board of Directors for the Lung Association of Saskatchewan, presented the commemorative Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal to Jim.

Mr. Jim Burnett has given unstintingly of his time and talents during his tenure with the Lung Association.  His comprehensive knowledge of administrative and finance practices has raised the standards at the Lung Association to high levels.  His leadership style helped staff and volunteers to work effectively and cooperatively to set and meet the goals and objectives of the Lung Association.  Leading by example, he fostered a pervasive attitude of integrity and good will. He accepted the responsibilities of leadership and never backed down from difficult situations. He willingly and ably participated in many Lung Association projects and was an excellent spokesperson for the Association, appearing on talk shows and doing interviews whenever the opportunity arose.  Mr. Burnett consistently contributed above and beyond the expectations for a volunteer leader in a charitable organization.

In addition to his outstanding service to the Lung Association, Jim was also a very strong contributor to many other organizations.  He was very active in the Scouting movement for many years, serving in various executive positions. He was a former elder and board member of the Wesley United Church, former chair of the education section of the United Appeal, former Vice-President of the Regina YMCA and a former Director of the CNIB Board.  He has served on the Board of the Teacher’s Credit Union, and as a councillor and an executive member of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation.  He served terms on the senates of both the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina. Jim also sat on the Committee of the University Scholarships of Canada.  He was the former Director of Education for the Regina School Board which is now named after him.

Although Jim has been the most visible member of the Burnett team, Jim always recognized the support from the love of his life. His wife, Marj, was a long-time volunteer for Lung Association and a canvasser in the residential campaigns. Jim said that, “his work would not have been possible without Marj’s support, advice and encouragement.”  Marj faithfully attended countless Lung Association meetings, dinners and special events. She was always there, literally and figuratively, to support Jim in his work with the Lung Association. In her special, gracious manner Marj, too, has been an excellent ambassador for the Lung Association. Marj passed away on Oct. 26, 2013. Both Jim and Marj were outstanding leaders and a shining example of family participation in the Lung Association family.

Quotes about Jim

“Jim repeatedly demonstrated outstanding achievement and distinguished service to the citizens of Saskatchewan and Canada”

- Marilyn Reddy, Past Board Chair, The Lung Association, Saskatchewan

“Jim was an accomplished leader who was very giving of his time to so many. His dedication to The Lung Association was remarkable.  But what I will remember most about him, was his kind soul and how he greeted everyone with a warm smile.”

- Jill Hubick, Registered Nurse, The Lung Association, Saskatchewan

“Jim was an example of true leader. He was engaged with not only the work of our association, but also with the staff and those we serve. He leaves a remarkable legacy within our organization.”

- Lori Kleiboer, Professional Education, The Lung Association, Saskatchewan.

“Without question, adjectives like ‘statesman’ and ‘ambassador’ are words that aptly describe some of Jim’s sterling attributes.  He humbly served his community, and the residents of Saskatchewan and Canada improving lung health one breath at a time.”

- Sharon Kremeniuk, Vice President of Development, The Lung Association, Saskatchewan.

“We will fondly remember Jim Burnett as a leader for respiratory health in this province and across Canada. His service to the community as a volunteer for over 40 years will not be forgotten.”

- Susan Cron, CEO, The Lung Association, Saskatchewan.

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Page Last Updated: 17/05/2017