John Laurie Burnaby

Date of Birth

October 22, 1947

Date of Death

April 29, 2021

City of Death

Santa Barbara

John Burnaby exhaled his final breath with his wife Laurie by his side on April 29th, 2021 at 5:25 am at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, California.

John was born in Los Angeles, California in 1947 to Dorothy and Homer Burnaby and was raised with his siblings, Sara, Dina, and Frank. He graduated from The Lawrenceville School and UCSB. But life was his ultimate teacher. He constantly explored the world: sailing the Maldive Islands with his brother, roaming Bali and Italy with his wife, and surfing the hidden beaches of the California Coast. John was a seeker of places unsullied by development and modern convenience. He built houses, fine furniture, and experimental aircraft.

As John’s brother Frank said, “Obituaries are so often about people’s outward achievements and not about their soul.” Here are some reflections on the soul of John Burnaby: he was kind, he could fix anything, he raised his stepchildren as his own, he thought words and grammar were important, he was honest, he had lifelong friendships, he did not run from difficult things, he worked to protect the natural world, he quietly cared for his mother throughout her final years, he always had a dog, he loved his wife with his whole heart, he was a loving uncle, he abhorred violence, he apologized when he was wrong, he was the one many came to for counsel, he was a magician in the kitchen, he always found a way to improve upon things, he loved solitude, he loved sitting in the sun, he loved jumping in the ocean, he rarely believed the rules applied to him, and he left his corner of the world better than he found it.

He will be deeply missed by his wife Laurie Burnaby, his beloved dog Cleo, children Gioia and Nick Marchese, grandson Cosmo Prince, brother Frank Burnaby, and his loving nieces and nephews: Mary Wigmore Reynolds, John Wigmore, Adam and Alec Trueblood, Katy and Andrew Trueblood, Kokko, Mathew and Willem Burnaby.

His family would like to extend their heartfelt gratitude to his healthcare team as well as Walter and Conny Lindley for their loving support.


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