Obituary: James Woodburn, Burbank Public Works Chief Engineer

James Woodburn

James Donald Woodburn, Sr. (October 30, 1925 – January 5, 2016) of Burbank, California passed away peacefully at home at the age of 90.

James Woodburn
James Woodburn

Jim was born in Colfax, WA but called Madison, Wisconsin his childhood home. He was the loved son of James G. Woodburn and Delma Donald Woodburn and brother of Robert Donald Woodburn. Jim leaves behind two sons: James Donald Woodburn, Jr. MD and William Scott Woodburn, step daughters: Cynthia Holm, Deborah Sandberg, Linda Larsen and Marie Hrach, 14 grandchildren, and 1 great grandchild. He was preceded in death by his wives: Donna D. Woodburn, Barbara Woodburn and Merle L. Woodburn and his daughter Margaret Woodburn Sage. His countless friends whose lives he touched with humor, intellect and spirit will deeply miss Jim’s presence.

Jim graduated in 1947 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a dedicated member of Beta Theta Pi. He moved to California in 1950 and spent 34 years with the City of Burbank where he served in many engineering and management roles within the Public Service department including chief engineer from 1951-85.

Jim continued his professional education and graduated in 1972 with a Master’s degree in Public Health Administration from USC. Jim loved Burbank and was deeply involved in many organizations including the YMCA, the Masonic Lodge including Past President High Twelve Burbank Chapter in 1962, Board of Directors of Wesley Homes, the Burbank Board of Realtors and the Burbank Sister City Committee. He received the Rotary Club Cunningham Award for service to the community after 40 years as a Burbank Rotarian and President of Rotary 1974-75.

He also served as Treasurer of the retired public employee association, Chairman of Los Angeles branch of ASME in 1974-1975 and a past President of the Burbank Historical Society. Jim and Merle Woodburn were sent to Otta, Japan as representatives of the City of Burbank which was one of many global adventures he enjoyed during his life.

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In addition to his work for Burbank and the local community, Jim was also deeply involved in historical preservation including Woodburn and Donald family legacy. He was a longtime contributor and member of the Mt. Horeb Area Historical Society, as well as a donor to the UW-Madison School of Engineering, the Woodburn Guild at Indiana University and the Donald Farm Foundation.

Memorial service will be held on January 30, 2016 at 1 PM at the First Presbyterian Church in Burbank 521 E. Olive Burbank, California.

In lue of flowers the family has asked that donations be made in Jim’s name to any of the many organizations he served or colleges he attended.