Abby (Moffat)'s Story

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Abby (Moffat) Burns of Salem died peacefully in her sleep at home on November 13, 2017, with her beloved dog, Daisy, by her side. Abby was predeceased in 2010 by her husband of 59 years, Jeremiah “Jere” Burns.
Abby was born in St. Paul, Minn., on March 6, 1930, to parents Norman Hugh Moffat and Gladys Croonquist Moffat. Abby was raised in St. Paul and attended Macalaster College. After college, she traveled to Arizona where she met Jere while skiing near Flagstaff. They spent the early years of their marriage in Glendale, Ariz., during Jere’s military service and in 1954 returned to Salem where they raised their three children.
As wife, mother, grandmother, friend, neighbor, master gardener, nature lover, lifelong liberal, tireless volunteer and the ultimate hostess, Abby was always a source of warmth and good humor. She enjoyed sailing, travel, bridge, crosswords, garden design, birding, and tennis (where she was infamous for her vicious lob). She brought life to every party with her energetic spirit and wonderful laugh and never missed a chance to don a spectacular costume made out of “finds” from her many hours volunteering at the North Shore Baby’s Hospital and the Lifebridge thrift shops.
Her record of community service is beyond measure. Some of the beneficiaries of her time, energy and heartfelt care included the Samaritan Charitable Society of Salem, Lifebridge, House of Seven Gables, the Hamilton Hall Lecture Series, Historic Salem, the Athenaeum, Peabody Essex Museum, City of Salem Planning Board and Salem Conservation Commission.
As her friends put it recently, Abby was “our Queen, our Historian, our greatest Fun Lover and a Special Friend."
Abby is survived by her three children, Pamela B. Burns and her husband, Ed Pliner of Princeton, N.J., Jennifer M. Burns of Sedona, Ariz., and Jeremiah S. “Josh” Burns and his wife, Susan Burns of Falmouth, Maine; grandchildren, Zachary and Hannah Pliner, and Jeremiah “Jake” and Anna Burns; and several nieces, nephews and extended family.
Relatives and friends are invited to Abby’s funeral service which will be held in the First Church in Salem, Unitarian Universalist, 316 Essex St., Salem, on Friday, November 17, at 10 a.m., immediately followed by a reception at Hamilton Hall, 9 Chestnut St., Salem. Assisting the family with the arrangements is the O’Donnell Funeral Home 46 Washington Sq. (at Salem Common), Salem. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Lifebridge of Salem (www.lifebridgesalem.org) and the Fund for Nature of Massachusetts Audubon Society (www.massaudubon.org). To share a memory or offer a condolence, please visit www.odonnellfuneralservice.com.
Published on  November 15, 2017
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