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Franklin Keith "Frank" Burns


Franklin Keith "Frank" Burns

Franklin Keith Burns, 82, of Sydney, passed away Wednesday, January 9, 2019, at Harbourstone Enhanced Care, Sydney.

Born June 10, 1936, in Ball’s Creek, he was the son of the late Samuel and Bernice (Ball) Burns.

Frank Burns, a great man, has been lost to his family, friends, and community, after a lengthy and devastating illness. His death quickly followed that of his beloved wife, Sheila (Graham), who passed away Christmas Eve. Frank and Sheila were the best of friends, having spent 64 years together. Frank loved his life, mainly because he dearly loved his family, and that gave him peace of heart that his life was exactly what is was meant to be.

Frank spent much of his time between three favourite places: in the country on the Mira River with his family, at home in the house he and Sheila built, and his home away from home, the horse racing track in Sydney, most recently known as Tartan Downs. Frank developed an interest in harness racing after marrying Sheila, as her father was a well-known horseman (Bill Graham). Bill took Frank under his wing, and taught him all that he knew. Frank was a breeder, owner, trainer and driver for more than 50 years. Frank had many horses over those decades, his favourites being, Redwing, Firefly Undersky and Fenway Redskin, which won the Atlantic Sire Stakes in Moncton with a sub 2 minute mile. Perhaps, most impressive is the fact that every single one of Frank’s horses over the years made it to the races. He had a true gift for training and never gave up on a horse.

Aside from his hobby of harness racing, Frank was employed with various companies as a young man including, Lynch’s Bakery, Brookfield Dairy and Cape Breton Novelty, eventually operating his own business, until retiring due to ill health.

Frank lived his life as a man should. He worked hard, shared his skills and knowledge, raised his children by being an example of what it meant to be a good person, a person who would be welcomed wherever he went, taking every opportunity to help those in need, with never a complaint. He was a gentle man, and a gentleman, a wonderful legacy for him to leave behind to all who will miss him more than he will ever know.

Frank is survived by his daughters, Sylvia, Paula (Sandy) Dowie, Carolyn and Linda Bryden, all of Sydney; brother, Robert (Muriel), Ball’s Creek; sisters, Clara Cooke, North Sydney, Helen Hardy, Ball’s Creek and Alberta Devoe, Ball’s Creek; grandchildren, Jennifer, Brian, Matthew, Gabriel, Sam, Margaret, and great-grandchild, Charlotte. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews.

Frank was predeceased by his wife of 64 years, Sheila (December 24, 2018) and sister, Alice Faye

Funeral Mass will be held Saturday, January 12 at 11 a.m. in St. Theresa’s Church in Sydney, with Rev. Dennis Lamey officiating. Reception to follow at the Horizon Achievement Centre, 780 Upper Prince St., Sydney. Interment will take place at a later date.

Special thanks for the excellent care provided by Dr. Paul Murphy and the staff of Soldier’s Cove and Harbourstone.

Memorials may be made to a charity of your choice.

Words of comfort can be sent to family at or email

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Service Date
Saturday, January 12, 2019
Service Time
11 a. m.
Service Location
St. Theresa's Church

No Visitation

Burial Date
At a later date
Burial Location
Resurrection Cemetery

Requested Charity
Charity of your choice