Daniel Burlison 1922-2005

July 25th, 2005

My friend Jay’s father died recently, and we just had a long talk about what it is to lose someone so important. Jay is unique, and learning some about his father and his influence, he’s not so unique after all, in that it’s clear he learned a lot about being true to himself, to be genuine in the world offering what only he can offer, from his father.


Jay summed it up for the memorial gathering held last week:

My father was a blessing in my life for just over 50 years – and never more so than in the first decade and the last decade of that time. In the first he was an involved, affectionate, hands-on father at a time when that was much less the norm than it is yoday, and in the last he was essential to my being able to make a number of crucial life changes.

He lived a fascinating life, some of it known to me and some not – the details would make a book, but I shall leave to others to speak of the parts they know.

He was a highly gifted designer and craftsman with a vision all
his own, and a man of many other talents, abilities, and interests
besides, widely curious, widely knowledgeable, largely self-educated. I honor and admire all of this, yet what I most remember him for are his sense of humor, his curiosity, his passion for life, his independence of mind, and his prolific generosity to me with his affection, love, and knowledge. Were I to recite the list of things I learned from him it would keep us here a good long while, and even so I would inevitably miss many of them – I suspect that I will be discovering more and more of them as the years go by.

However, the main lessons, fittingly taught by positive example,
were these: find work you love and do it well, always stay interested
in the world, always keep active and developing, mentally, physically
emotionally and spiritually, and always maintain your independence of
mind. I suppose that could all be summed up by saying ?never let your
heart and mind grow old.?

I will miss him to the end of my days in many ways great and
small, but still, he was a blessing in my life for over 50 years, and
for that I can only be grateful.


Daniel M. Burlison
, 83, died Tuesday June 28 after a short illness. Mr. Burlison was a jewelry designer and craftsman for most of his life. For the last 12 years he lived and worked in Silver City, and before that in Taos and Cimarron, New Mexico after moving south from Alaska.

An adventurer from youth, Mr. Burlison spent time living among the Alaskan natives teaching jewelry making and prospecting for jade. He served in the Merchant Marines during WWII and also worked as a commercial fisherman.

He is survived by his partner of many years, Susan Hill of Silver City, by his children: daughter Kelly MacRunnels (Alan) of Albuquerque, sons Mike Burlison (Tammy) of Dennard, AR, and Jay Burlison of Richmond, VA, and by his grandchildren: Kelcie and Keven MacRunnels of Albuquerque and Daniel Burlison of Dennard, AR.

A memorial gathering will be held Sunday July 17th at 2 pm at the Gomez Peak group campground on Little Walnut Road in Silver City, New Mexico.

The family requests donations be sent to Children International.

Here’s an example of Daniel Burlison’s work:


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