Martin Samuel Burns
1957 ~ 2013
Martin Samuel Burns, 56, died while hiking Sunday, August 25th. His body was found below the trail leading to Inspiration Point in the Angeles National Forest near Altadena, Ca. While we may never know exactly what happened, Martin appeared to have suffered a fatal heart attack, causing him to fall from the steep trail.
Martin Burns was a Los Angeles news veteran. After graduating from Occidental College in 1979, with a journalism degree, he wrote a few stories for Sunset Magazine before becoming a reporter for a Newhall California weekly newspaper. Later, Martin spent many years at PBS station KCET Los Angeles. During the 1990s, he was the senior producer of the popular KCET series "Life and Times", which won numerous Los Angeles area Emmy Awards. He was also nominated for LA Emmys several other times, most recently for a 2010 report titled, "Cartel Crimewave".
For the last decade or so, Martin worked as an investigative reporter and producer for Fox 11, the Los Angeles Fox affiliate. Passionate about his work, he was particularly drawn to stories exposing corruption and injustice. His colleagues mentioned his frequent encounters with flying bullets and cross-border drug wars, the details of which he was thoughtful enough not to share with his family.
Martin was born in Boise, Idaho to Stanley and Marylu Burns. The youngest of three and the only boy, Martin assumed an exalted position in his family. As a young child, Martin exhibited a sweet and sensitive nature. His mother naturally doted on this tender child, causing his jealous sisters to nickname him, "little honey" - a name that continued to make him bristle as an adult.
The Burns family moved to Aldape Heights, in East Boise, when Martin was a toddler. With his friend and neighbor, Richard Boyd at his side, Martin enjoyed a wonderful childhood growing up on "the hill". Many good times, athletic contests and life lessons were shared, sometimes willingly, with the Aldapes, Odiagas, Boyds and other neighborhood clans.
When Martin entered school, he and Richard quickly expanded their group of friends. Through Roosevelt school, East Jr. High and Boise High School, "the boys" became the best of friends. Successful in sports, academics and occasionally scoring a date, "the boys" were at their best in creating wonderful social events. Their brand of fun and friendship was unique and continues to this day.
If there is any solace to be had at this time, it might be in knowing that Martin had just spent several weeks in his beloved Idaho enjoying himself. He attended his niece's wedding in McCall, where it was reported he was the last person to bed during several evenings of festivities. Following the wedding, he did some hiking and fishing before joining some of "the boys" in Challis, for the Braun Brothers' Music Festival. Life didn't get any better than that for Martin. If he couldn't be working on something interesting, or watching The Lakers, he wanted to be skiing, hiking or listening to great live music.
Martin is survived by his grandson, Remy, his sisters Lucy Artis, Marilyn Bickle and their families and his many friends in Idaho. Special thanks to Martin's creative news partner and friend, Dan Leighton, his Fox 11 news family and to his wonderful California friends and neighbors who have been so helpful during this difficult time.
A memorial gathering is planned for 2 p.m. Sunday, September 22, at the StoneHouse, 665 Park Blvd. in Boise.
Memorials may be made to Idaho Public Television; 1455 N. Orchard St.; Boise, ID 83706, or to
"And we all shine on, like the moon and the stars and the sun…..on and on and on and on". John Lennon
Published in Idaho Statesman on Sept. 18, 2013