Burns, Dean John

April 15, 1951 – November 21, 2022
at the age of 71 years:     

It is with heavy hearts we announce the sudden passing of Dean (Hatrack) Burns who lost his battle with ALS within 4 months of his diagnosis.  Dean passed with his loving wife Karen by his side at Salmon Arm, BC, where they resided. 

Dean was a kind hearted giving soul, with a sense of humour that touched everyone who knew him.  His brilliant mind always made stimulating conversation on any subject, no matter who he was with, and he had the amazing ability to keep everyone engaged and laughing.  He was deeply loved and will be sadly missed.

Dean was a gifted Photo Journalist, working for the Calgary Herald in his early career.  He covered the Calgary Stampede and skillfully captured the ‘Heart and Soul’ of the rodeo and its cowboys.  Whatever his assignment was for the Herald, he did it with perfection.  Dean continued his passion in Europe where he took time to capture photos and journal about the countries he visited.  When he returned to Calgary he entered into a business partnership at the Avenida Photo Shop, sharing his passion by providing professional event, wedding, and family photos.  When the time was right, Dean opened up his own photography business in Calgary, called Burns Photography.  Eventually Dean moved on to start a new and exciting chapter in his life, where he opened his own campground just outside of Calgary, called Pine Creek RV Campground until he retired at the age of 55.  Dean met Karen in 2005, and they were immediately and always inseparable.  On February 13th, 2009 they were married in the Bahamas, and their souls were forever intwined, united in love.  “Love you today, tomorrow, and forever” were Dean and Karen’s daily words to each other, and the memory of his love will be everlasting.

Dean’s other passion was his Harley and cruising the country side with his best friend Greg for as long as he was able to do so.  He loved his music and was a master at music trivia.  His favorite times were spent socializing with friends and watching all sports whether it be Nascar, horse racing, or team sports.  Dean truly loved the Rodeo, and Dean (Hatrack) and Karen (Lil Missy) took in a lot of them through the years.  He also loved to travel to beautiful places, horseback riding, boating, fishing, and his Budweiser.  Dean was truly an honourable man and a joy to be with at anytime.

Dean was predeceased by his parents, James Francis Burns Sr. and Pearl Burns of Calgary Ab.  He is survived by his loving wife Karen, his children Amy Burns, Cara (Jay) Nelson, Jason Burns, his stepchildren Ashley Deisman, Kyle (Kayley) Deisman, sister Bonnie Costello, brother Jim (Pat) Burns, grandchildren Oliver, Ashely, Fallon, Calon, Rosie and Elayna, mother in law Sophie, brothers in law Larry (Marilyn), Harvey, sister in law Linda (Dave), as well as many nieces, nephews, and cousins.  Also missing him will be Cutter, King of Twang, Holmer, Jackson, Lily, and Clover.

Special thank you to Nurse Laura and the palliative care nursing team; the Salmon Arm and Kelowna medical teams; Reverend Shirley for her blessings and prayers; to Dean’s brother-in-law Larry who was able to stay and lend his support in Dean’s final days; to Diane, Brian and Alana for their gifts of food and acts of kindness; and to all others who also helped make Dean’s battle easier.

At Dean’s request, a celebration of life will be held at a later date to be set in the Spring.  Please visit Fishers Funeral Services website at www.fishersfuneralservices.com to share your memories, stories, and condolences.   In lieu of flowers, you may make a donation in memory of Dean to the ALS Society of BC.   You can donate online at www.alsbc.ca or send your cheque to Unit 1228 – 13351 Commerce Parkway Richmond BC V6V 2X7. People who wish to donate online may select Tribute Donation and follow the instructions on the page. 


  1. To Dean, my “Brother in Arms”. In memory of a lovely and wonderful person!
    The pain about my loss required time to write these lines…

    My wife Birgit, I and your amazing family met in the Bahamas in 2009 and we both instantly became like brothers. Our common love of music, of life and the absolutely same sense of humor connected our souls instantly. For me and Birgit it was the greatest honor that you and your wonderful and loving wife Karen were our wedding witnesses in the Bahamas. Just as great was the feeling of being able to be there at your wedding and to accompany you in your own married life. So many beautiful memories…

    In addition, we were allowed to visit you and your beautiful country in the same year, which deepened our friendship even more. We always had unforgettable experiences with you and wonderful long and fun days and nights together. Unfortunately, we haven’t had enough time together lately and it wasn’t enough for a second visit to your beautiful home. That still hurts me immensely. But the moments we had were always marked by love. friendship and the overwhelming feeling you gave of belonging to your amazing family.

    The great pain of losing you so quickly, my friend and brother, will always remain with me. Although i knew about your serious illness, it was a big shock for me, and of course Birgit too. This will always stay with us.

    Brother Dean, Hat Rack, Hans… You will forever remain deep in my memories and in my heart. Thank you for enriching my life!

    In eternal friendship, yours Volker.

    Love you bro! ❤

  2. Thinking of you all during this very difficult time. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Sending you lots of love and hugs.
    With deepest sympathy, caring and friendship….Maureen Emslie and Family. ❤️

  3. I am very sorry for your loss

  4. Karen and family my sincere condolences. My thoughts are with you at this difficult time.

  5. So very sorry to hear about Dean’s passing. Deepest condolences to you Karen and your family. We wish you all the strength you need to go through this very difficult time!
    Rob & Jan Lipsett

  6. Brian and I would like to express our condolences to you Karen and all your and Dean’s families. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Shannon and Brian Olson

  7. Dean was a wonderful Uncle, always bringing a smile and humor with his quick wit. A favourite memory of mine (about 1970) was his being at the helm of a “Snow Cruiser” snowmobile with my late brother and I seated and clutching behind him. He drove down to the lower 40 acres of my Grandparents’ Ten Jay Stock Ranch (his parent’s home) where he proceeded to accelerate to what seemed terminal velocity as we climbed some piled-up and snow-covered straw bales launching into what seemed outer space at the time! Dean’s competence and confidence of pushing boundaries and our bear hug onto him has endured and informed me about measured risks and is a story I’ve never told. Thank you, Dean

  8. My heart & soul have been touched by knowing Dean. Will be forever missed as a brother in law & freind.

  9. Dean touched our heart’s and changed our lives forever. His kind & gentle nature & a love of animals was to be admired. We are blessed for knowing Dean.

  10. The sweetest guy I’ve ever known. My brother for 57 years. It’s like I lost myself or at least my best arm

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