Matthew James Dunfey Burns, 84, of Kennebunk, Maine, passed away June 24 at his home surrounded by his family after a long illness. Matthew was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, on Sept. 13, 1935 to John and Kathryn (Dunfey) Burns. He was a graduate of Keith Academy (1953), Tufts University (1957), and Harvard Business School (1961). He retired as a lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserves (1957-1961), where he traveled extensively throughout Africa, Italy, France and Spain on the Destroyers USS Blair and USS Daly.

He married Deborah Read Parsons on Aug. 13, 1959. He was devoted to his wife and four children throughout his life and provided support and encouragement in all their achievements. He enjoyed boating on the “Whiteflash” at the Arundel Yacht Club, Kennebunkport, and Browns Wharf, Boothbay Harbor.

Matthew spent most of his career as a professional turnaround executive. Notable roles include: operating partner of North Atlantic Capital Corporation; managing director and assistant treasurer of the Community Technology Fund at Boston University; chief executive officer of Crowe Rope Company, Forster, Inc, and Eastland Woolen Mills.

He served as executive vice president of Nelson and Small, Portland (1992-1994); president and CEO of Automated Assemblies Corp, Clinton, Massachusetts (1984-1991), corporate vice president of Emery Waterhouse Company, Portland (1979-1984), general manager of Sullivan Brothers Printers, Lowell, Massachusetts (1977-1979), managing director of Boston University Venture Fund, Boston (1976-1979), corporate vice president and CFO at Cramer Electronics, Newton, Massachusetts (1974-1976) and corporate president at Itek Corporation, Lexington, Massachusetts (1961-1974).

Matthew was a trustee of Tufts University (Emeritus), Maine Medical Center, The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and was a generous contributor to numerous other foundations and organizations.

Matthew is predeceased by his wife of 57 years, Deborah Parsons Burns, his parents John Frances and Kathryn Ann Burns, his brothers, Thomas and John Burns, his aunts, Irene Noonan and Ethel Higgins of Lowell, Massachusetts, and his uncle Matthew Dunfey of Nahant, Massachusetts.

Matthew leaves his son Robert Parsons Burns and Audrey Zahares of Kennebunk, his daughters Kathryn Anne Burns and Michael A. Greeley of Boston, Laura Elizabeth Burns and Thomas E. Tiller of Boothbay Harbor, Julia Read Burns and Daniel P Riley of Kennebunk; his grandchildren, John Robert Burns, Robert Parsons Burns Jr, Mikayla Parsons Greeley and Jackson Grant Greeley, as well as his nieces Stacey Bond Bowes and Alice Read Giacomin and nephews Matthew Parsons Miller, Benjamin Scott Miller, John Usher Oleynick and Edward Armstrong Oleynick.

There will be a private service to lay Matthew to rest at Hope Cemetery on June 29, 2020.

Should friends desire memorial donation may be made to Maine Medical Center 22 Bramhall St., Portland, Maine 04102 or Massachusetts Eye and Ear, 243 Charles Street Boston, MA 02114 in Mr. Burns’ memory.

To share a memory or leave a message of condolence, please visit Matthew’s Book of Memories Page at