BURNS, MARGARET LOUISE DEVANY – (August 6, 1938 – July 27, 2008 ) died at Tucson Medical Center after a brief and unexpected illness. A devoted mother and grandmother, who, throughout her life, was a passionate student (MSN MPH Ed.D RN), nurse, and educator dedicated to improving her community, both local and global.

Margaret was born in New York City, the third child of Rita Ledwith Devany and William Devany, both of whom emigrated from Ireland. She attended Villa Maria Academy in the Bronx and graduated from the Westchester School of Nursing in 1959, first working as an emergency room nurse. She married Richard Stephen Burns on December 26, 1964, and moved with him during his Air Force career. She lost her first child, Stephannie Marie, late in pregnancy, and gave birth to two sons, Christopher Joseph and Kevin Devany. While raising her two sons, she worked as a nurse, taught nursing, and continuously expanded into new professional and volunteer endeavors.

In 1974 she graduated from the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in psychology and philosophy. From 1974 to 1980 she was active at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Dayton, OH, and energetically volunteered at Dismas House, a project for formerly institutionalized mentally ill adults. She completed her Master of Science in Nursing at the University of Cincinnati in 1978, and taught nursing at Wright State University in 1980. After her husband retired from the USAF they lived in Oak Ridge, TN, from 1980 to 1997 and were active members of St. Mary Catholic parish.

She was editor and major author of the book, “Pulmonary Care: A Guide for Patient Education,” published in 1983, and taught nursing at University of Tennessee in Knoxville in 1984. During 1984-85 she worked for the Regional Education and Community Health Education Services (REACHES) developing community-based programs, notably with child abuse prevention and pulmonary rehabilitation for disabled coal miners in Appalachia. In 1985 she was honored with the Alma E. Gault Award for Leadership in Nursing, by the Tennessee Nurses Association.

She became active in mediation, restorative justice and rehabilitation; co-founding the Center for Community Justice, Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP) in Anderson County. This was the first court-based mediation program in Tennessee, which continues to this day. Margaret implemented a prison nonviolence training program and initiated a scholarship program for death row inmates, which continues today through the Diocese of Knoxville.

In 1988-89 she was a visiting professor of nursing at Eastern Kentucky University, and in 1991-92 she was the director of the Student Health Services at Knoxville College. She was awarded a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University in 1990. During 1994-97 she worked as a mediator focusing on education and training for conflict resolution, and violence-prevention strategies.

In 1997 she discovered Arizona during a short visit to Dennehotso in the Navajo Nation where she taught classes in prevention of diabetes and conflict resolution. From 1997 to the present she and Richard have lived in Arizona, spending almost two years in Flagstaff before settling in Tucson. In 2000 she worked as a program coordinator for The Health Education (T.H.E.) Project which led to becoming a volunteer at the Pima County Juvenile Detention Center, where she has taught violence prevention over the last 8 years. She completed a Masters in Public Health (MPH) at the University of Arizona in 2001. From 2002 to 2006 she worked as a Nurse Program Coordinator at The University Physicians.

Margaret was an active member and Eucharistic Minister at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church. Margaret helped bring the Just Coffee Project to St. Frances Cabrini, which supports a business cooperative of coffee farmers in Chiapas, Mexico.

Margaret is survived by her husband of 43 years Richard Stephen Burns; her son: Christopher Joseph Burns, his wife Dawn and their daughters: 5 year old Megan Elizabeth and 3 year old Sarah Anne (both of whom are the brightest stars in Granny’s sky) of Colorado Springs, CO; her son: Kevin Devany Burns of Johnson City, TN; her four siblings: James Vincent Devany (wife Shirley) of Joyce, WA, Dolores Marie McGlynn (husband Mark deceased in 2002) of Fairfax, VA, William Kevin Devany (wife Diane) of Germantown, MD, and John Raymond Devany (wife Carol) of Dickinson, TX.

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