David Burris, RIP

by Pete Tamburro

[Ed note: Our very good friend and fellow COSSU member Dave Burris died all too young in 2001. Items from his chess on stamp collection are now available in the March-June COSSU auction #137. Please contact the editor if you are interested in Dave’s collection of chess sets, chess pins, and chess art. May he rest in chess peace!]

Death has taken yet another friend of chess and chess players. David Burris, award winning editor, writer and player succumbed on January 29, 2001 of a heart attack.

His good friend, the Reverend John Anthony of Knoxville, Tennessee (where Dave had returned to his city of birth) writes, “A couple of years ago David was forced into retirement by a reoccurrence of the polio he contracted in early life. Dave was in the hospital being treated for a bacterial infection. Fighting the infection he grew weaker, his organs began to fail. Finally his lungs failed, then a heart attack took him to a better world. His health really started deteriorating last June when he suffered a near-fatal heart attack and had to have a pacemaker. He told me he didn't think he had much time left, but he didn't dwell on it. Dave never had the slightest fear of death. He always accepted it as a normal event in one’s life.

What is there to say? A courageous, good man has been lost to us. We felt this way when we lost Barry Spiro. Barry and Dave worked on A.C.N. together. Two brilliant minds in two brittle bodies. Two wonderful human beings leaving friends full of sorrow and full of warm memories that make you smile.

Dave's chess club in his basement in Morris Plains is one of my favorite memories. No big chess egos, but lots of love of the game and kindness towards others. Dave fostered that kind of spirit with his giving ways. Despite his condition he became the Director of the Greater Knoxville Chess Club’s Outreach Program and devoted his time and finances to teach chess to children and senior citizens. He did some very personal good deeds to individuals here in NJ. Lest we forget, he was a terrific chess master. He was champion of several states and the U.S. Absolute Postal Chess Champion. He collected chess books, sets, and art, and stamps. He planned to bequeath his collection to the University of Tennessee.

Ed Note: My understanding is that the University of Tennessee declined the collection, which went instead to the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Dave Burris at the board