Douglas Wayne Burris
Jun 1, 1931 - Mar 6, 2016
Douglas Wayne Burris
Born in Visalia, Ca on June 1, 1931 to George and Lois Burris, Douglas Burris passed away on the evening of March 6, 2016 at the age of 84 surrounded by his loving family.
Douglas W. Burris excelled at everything he touched, as a Marine officer, a driving force in developing the community college system in California, and most important to him, a proud and loving husband, father and grandfather.
Douglas was a member of a family with deep California roots. He was the great grandson of early California settler David Burris, a Mexican War hero arriving in California in 1851 from Missouri, and becoming a prominent miner, rancher, and banker in Sonoma and Central California.
Along with brother Ron, he had a happy childhood in Visalia. During World War II, he had a chance to see a bit of the world when father George traveled throughout the U.S. with U.S. Army Air Corp Band.
He attended Visalia High School and was a talented student, musician and athlete. He was a track and field star, a football player, and was class president. He often spoke about running against Bob Mathias from Tulare High in a track meet. Mathias was later a two-time Olympic gold medalist and Congressman. He never really told us who won.
Doug attended the University of California-Berkeley in the early 50’s and was a natural leader. While his parents thought he would be a great dentist, Doug decided his social skills (and grades) were better suited for other pursuits. Doug became the President of his fraternity, Delta Tau Delta, and of course, was a lifelong Cal Bears football fan. Doug also participated in the Navy ROTC program, as this was the peak of the Korean War and he wanted to complete his college career before entering the military.
Upon graduation, Doug started his commission with the Marines and went through basic and officers training at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, CA and Quantico, VA, respectively. He became a proud and successful Marine, stationed at Twenty-Nine Palms, quickly being promoted to the rank of Captain.
As a young handsome Captain in the Marine Corp, Doug met the love of his life and wife of 59 years, Jacquelin Dyment. Jackie was born in Los Angeles, and raised with her historically prominent family in Annapolis, MD. Her family had a close connection with the U.S. Naval Academy, in fact a member of her family composed the Navy fight song, Blue and Gold. They were married shortly after, and Doug started his transition to civilian life and building a home and family.
Doug entered the world of business by working as salesman for American Seating Company, and Sacramento was within his territory. While Doug proudly supplied many of the desks and chairs to the growing number of schools in the Sacramento area, those same customers sparked a new career passion, education.
Doug left his sales job and became a business teacher and Associate Dean at American River College in 1962. He saw the junior colleges (now community colleges) as a place where he could make a real change in people’s lives, and he thrived. Advancing his skills, Doug went back to school and received his Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Sacramento State University. Now with kids Brad and Rod running around the house, the camper in the driveway became Doug’s quiet study and thesis-writing refuge.
Doug’s natural charisma, intelligence, charm, and leadership ability led him quickly into the President’s seat at American River College, then Cosumnes River College, and then Sacramento City College. His philosophy was always rooted in bringing discipline to business, college campus, even household, not by being cold and tough, but by educating people, and winning them over. He also thought campus pride was important, and that athletics was a key way to accomplish this. One of his crowning achievements was bringing Sacramento City College’s lowly football and baseball teams to nationally-ranked programs, becoming a magnet for young athletes around the country.
Doug was one of the first community college leaders to make economic development one of the “pillars” of public education. Better said, it was important for colleges to adapt to changes in the economy so that students were prepared for their careers ahead. His ideas have become common practice in today’s campuses around the U.S.
Doug was proud to have continued his career on to become a Vice Chancellor at the Los Rios Community College District (one of the largest community college district in the U.S.), Deputy Chancellor at the California Community College system, and then leader of the Community College system in Nevada. He also had the opportunity to spend part of his career with the American Association of Junior Colleges in Washington DC, making fond memories for the young family at their home in Rockville, MD.
Doug and Jackie raised four high-achievers in school, music and sports. All three boys played football at La Sierra HS, as well as other programs including track, wrestling, cross-country, academic decathlon and marching band. Lyn was a cheerleader also at La Sierra. One in particular, Rod, was a track all-star, reaching national status as a sprinter at American River College and UC Santa Barbara. All four of the Burris children went on to obtain degrees from prestigious California Universities such as UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly. Rod is a CPA and is now CFO for a national PR firm; son, Brad has had distinguished career in real estate development, and was the Sr. VP of Finance for Lukenbill Enterprises (then the managing general partner of the Sacramento Kings), and now owns a publishing company; daughter, Lyn, a distinguished 32-year career as a teacher in Elk Grove; and Bob followed his father’s philosophy of economic development, with an MBA from Sacramento State and a 20 year career in helping Sacramento, now northern California, grow its economy with regional and city organizations. All four used their lessons-learned from Doug and Jackie to achieve in their own careers and families.
Doug believed that there was nothing more important than family, and spent many weekends and weeks with his family at his beloved vacation homes at Pismo Beach and Donner Lake. The family has fond memories of barbecuing in their Dad’s backyard at Tono Way nearly every Sunday afternoon. Every year Doug gathered his family together, even after they had all grown and had their own families, and spent a week at Roberts Cottages in Oceanside CA. This was a tradition that has gone on for over 50 years. His family has continued the tradition to this day and plans to continue in the future following Doug’s philosophy to make family the top priority.
Doug and Jackie have enjoyed a long retirement, travelling the world; China, Australia, Europe; not to mention the whole southwest and British Columbia via their RV. But Doug admitted many times that nothing compared to spending time with his wife and family at his favorite vacation spots at Donner, Pismo and Oceanside. Doug would always say while sitting on the beach, “I’ve been all over the world, and there is no better beach than this!”… then after taking a sip of his ice cold Coors Light he would say, “It just doesn’t get any better than this.”
Doug is survived by his wife Jackie, brother Ron and his wife Gladwyn, children Brad, Rod, Lyn and Bob, their spouses, Beverlee, Robyn, David and Stacy, respectively, and eight grandchildren Nicholas, Brandon, Dillon, Ali, Taylor, Luke, Ryan and Hayden.
Family and friends, please join us for a celebration of Doug’s life at East Lawn Mortuary at 5757 Greenback Lane on Tuesday, March 15, 10:00am. In lieu of flowers, the family wishes to honor Doug’s memory with contributions in his name to the Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA), 912 Killian Road SW, Lilburn, GA 30047. Website: https://www.lbda.org/node/581 .
East Lawn Mortuary Chapel
5757 Greenback Lane
Sacramento, CA 95841