Skip to main content

Burney, John Jay, Jr., 1924-2010

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1924-10-05-2010-04-10- 1924 October 05 - 2010 April 10 - 2010

Biography

John Jay Burney Jr. was born in Wilmington on October 5, 1924, the son of John Jay Burney, lawyer and longtime state judge, and Effie Barefoot Burney. As a teenager, Burney served as a lifeguard at Lumina Pavilion on Wrightsville Beach, where his family owned a cottage on the south end. He also worked as a "soda jerk" at a Carolina Beach drug store and drove buses of workers to the Wilmington Shipyard. He graduated from New Hanover High School in 1943.

Following graduation, Burney enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was wounded twice in combat just weeks before the end of the war as his regiment was crossing the Kocher River and attacking the town of Arnsdorf. He was eventually evacuated to a field hospital near Nancy, France where he received the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster. Additionally, as a staff sergeant, Burney received a Bronze Star for valor in combat near Jebsheim, Germany in January 1945.

Following the end of the war, Burney entered Wake Forest College, graduating in 1950 with an undergraduate degree, and 1951 with a Law degree. After passing the state bar exam, he joined a practice with Wilmington lawyer Royce McClelland, who had been his father's partner. Soon after, he was appointed an assistant solicitor for the 8th District, including New Hanover, Pender, Brunswick and Columbus counties. Burney went on to serve as solicitor from 1954-1963.

In 1959, Burney was named one of North Carolina's "Outstanding Young Democrats." He later took an active role in the gubernatorial campaign of I. Beverly Lake. Burney was first elected to the state Senate in 1967 and served until 1972. During this period, he also served on the state General Statues Commission and the Legislative Services Committee. During his tenure in the Senate, Burney was involved with issues related to alcoholic beverage regulation, coastal property insurance, and reoganizing the state university system. He introduced the bill that turned Wilmington College into the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Burney would later serve as a university trustee.

Burney was a longtime member of St. Andrews-Covenant Presbyterian Church and was active in the Elks, Shriners, American Legion, and the Chamber of Commerce. He died on April 10, 2010 and is buried in Oakdale cemetery.

Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:

John J. Burney, Jr. Legislative Papers

 Collection
Identifier: SC-MS-033
Scope and Contents This collections contains the legislative papers of North Carolina State Senator John J. Burney, Jr. Senator Burney represented New Hanover County from 1966-1972. The legislative papers consist primarily of correspondence, bills, publications, printed materials and newspaper clippings, covering a broad spectrum of social, economic and political issues during his time in office. Topics include taxation, environmentalism, transportation and infrastructure, Wilmington College (now UNCW), and...
Dates: 1960 - 1972

John Jay Burney, Jr. Personal Papers

 Collection
Identifier: SC-MS-211
Scope and Contents

This collection primarily contains papers, records, photos, speeches, and correspondence of John J. Burney, Jr. from his enlistment into the Army in 1943, directly from high school graduation, through the end of the 20th century.

Dates: 1918-1999

University of North Carolina Wilmington Landmark Committee Records

 Collection
Identifier: SC-MS-268
Scope and Contents This collection includes minutes, memoranda, letters, photographs, and blueprints associated with the development of the University landmarks and student commons area between 1983 and 1987. The collection focuses on the Landmark Committee’s progress, documents a meeting held with the Board of Trustees, and includes negatives and blueprints of landmark designs. Much of the collection relates to the research of the Historical Events Committee, a subcommittee established by John J. Burney,...
Dates: 1982 May 28 - 1987 December 31