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Peggy McKnight Burns

September 15, 1937 ~ December 29, 2023 (age 86) 86 Years Old

Peggy Burns Obituary

Peggy McKnight Burns September 15, 1937–December 29, 2023 Surrounded by her family, Peggy Burns died peacefully at age 86 after succumbing to pneumonia. Peggy was born at City Hospital in Akron, Ohio to Harriet Annabelle Akins and Laurence James McKnight and spent her childhood in Cuyahoga Falls. At the early age of 6, she contracted meningitis and was one of the first children nationwide to be saved by the “marvel drug” penicillin, as documented in local newspaper articles. After graduating from Cuyahoga Falls High School in 1956, Peggy studied at Case Western Reserve University’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, ultimately continuing her education at Russell Sage College and taking graduate courses in Sociology at the University of Akron. In 1958, Peggy married her high school sweetheart, Dr. Robert C. Burns, and moved to Albany, New York where Bob attended medical school. After conferring his degree in 1966, Bob, Peggy, and their three young boys, Todd, Troy, and Clark, returned to Copley, Ohio, allowing Bob the opportunity to join his brother Karl in medical practice. Peggy cherished her time raising her boys in Copley—the days when Montrose was a cornfield and the Montrose Drive-in, Montrose Swim and Tennis, and The Freeze were still the hottest places in town. Peggy’s dedication to service was exemplified through her work and volunteer efforts. From her position as an assistant nurse at Akron Children’s to volunteering with Family Promise, she was a continual advocate to those in need. Prior to retirement, Peggy was the Executive Director of the Battered Women’s Shelter and was on the board for the Summit County Juvenile Court. She was proudest, though, of being the first woman elected as a Copley Township Trustee in 1978, serving two terms and leaving a legacy of positive change. While Peggy enjoyed cycling and skiing, her many hobbies and talents were predominately centered around the arts: photography, gardening, painting, writing, drawing, knitting, and sewing—she could create the pattern and make the dress. In her later years,

Peggy most enjoyed spending time with her family, particularly her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and worshiping at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Akron. Peggy is survived by her sons Troy (Johnna) Burns and Clark (Melissa) Burns, 7 grandchildren (Carrie, Karlie, Devin, Peyton, Casey, Calvin, Caroline), and 7 great-grandchildren (Cora, Eva, Molly, Lio, Cyrus, Elaina, Archie). She is also survived by her daughter-in-law Jan (Todd) Burns, sister Sharon Masterson (Jack), niece Tracy Masterson, nephew Jeff Masterson, nephews Grant and Whit Burns, and cousin Bob Stalder. Peggy was preceded in death by her eldest son, R. Todd Burns. The family would like to extend a special thanks to her caregiver, Lori Silva, whose care allowed Peggy to live her final years comfortably in her historic, barn-stone home.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Sierra Club ( to honor Peggy’s commitment to environmental conservation. If a monetary donation is not feasible at this time, consider taking the time to photograph nature, learn to knit, or go through old photographs with your loved ones.

A memorial service will be held in March 2024; details to follow.

Services in care of The Billow Funeral Homes & Crematory, Fairlawn Chapel, 85 N. Miller Road, Akron, OH  44333

To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.

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