OBITUARIES: Michael Edmund Burns, 1940 –2023

Michael Edmund Burns, 83, former executive in professional basketball and insurance risk management. Died November 25, 2023. Mr. Burns was born Nov. 18, 1940 in Cambridge MA and raised in Belmont and Falmouth MA. He was the youngest son of Judge John J. Burns (of the Massachusetts Superior Court, also a Harvard Law professor as well as the original general counsel of the SEC under Joseph P. Kennedy in 1934-35); and Mrs. Alice Blake Burns. Mr. Burns was educated at St. Sebastian’s School, Needham Mass.; College of the Holy Cross; and the University of Southern California, where he received an MBA in 1967. After graduation from USC, Mr. Burns spent 13 years in professional basketball, first as assistant to Red Auerbach at the Boston Celtics, then as manager under NBA Commissioner Walter Kennedy. In 1979 he became Executive Vice President of the Indiana Pacers. For four years Mr. Burns headed a special-products department of Marsh & McLennan, the insurance and consulting firm, and later was active as an independent licensed insurance broker. From 1961 to 1966 Mr. Burns was a Naval officer, first in the USN Reserve and then on active duty in the Pacific, with the rank of Lieutenant at discharge in 1966. Mr. Burns is survived by his wife, the former Margot Vliet Sheehan; his sister Alice Therese Scanlan of Winchester, MA; two children; and at least 30 nieces, nephews, and grandnieces/nephews.