John P. Burns, 62, Watertown

WATERTOWN, NY — John P. Burns, 62, Watertown, passed away Thursday, June 2, 2022, at his cottage in the town of Lyme.

John was born in Watertown, son of former Watertown Mayor Karl R. and Rosemary L. (Lawrence) Burns. He was a 1978 graduate of Immaculate Heart Central School. He then attended Jefferson Community College before attending and graduating from Canton Police Academy.

John started his career serving the tri-villages of Brownville, Dexter, and Glen Park under Robert Thomas and was police chief in Alexandria Bay. In February 1983 John joined the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and in four years was promoted to detective, serving as an arson investigator and on the Metro-Jefferson Narcotics Task Force. In 2002 he was elected Jefferson County sheriff, serving for 12 years until his retirement in 2014.

On Aug. 27, 1983, John married Roxanne Moore. While their marriage ended in divorce to the former Watertown Councilwoman, they were always proud of the two children that they had together.

John was a communicant of St. Patrick’s Church. He was a member of the Italian American Civic Association, Elks Lodge 496, Ancient Order of the Hibernians, and NYS Retired Sheriff’s Association. He enjoyed carpentry, fishing, boating, and animals.

John is survived by his mother, Rosemary L. Burns, Watertown; two sons, K. Colin Burns and Dane P. Burns, both of Watertown; two sisters, Kathleen A. Burns, Watertown and Nancy L. and husband Thomas M. Blake, Pillar Point; sister-in-law Mary Ann Burns, VT; brother-in-law Edward Amelio, Watertown; aunts and uncles, Patricia Murnane and husband Jim, Audrey Lawrence, Josephine Burns, and Allen Walker; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.

He was predeceased by his father, Karl R., 2001 and his brother James D., 2007.

Calling hours will be held 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday, June 9, at Cummings Funeral Service, Inc., Watertown. The funeral Mass will be celebrated 11 a.m. Friday, June 10, at St. Patrick’s Church followed by burial in Glenwood Cemetery. The funeral mass will be live-streamed on the church’s Facebook page.

Online condolences may be posted at

In lieu of flowers, donations in his name may be made to St. Patrick’s Church, 123 S. Massey St., Watertown, NY 13601, the Italian American Civic Association, 192 Bellew Ave., Watertown, NY 13601 or your local American Diabetes Association.