Cover photo for Joan Burns's Obituary
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1932 Joan 2022

Joan Burns

September 1, 1932 — December 19, 2022

Madison- Joan Salomejia Kazalski (Burns), age 90 passed away at the Assisted Living facility at Oakwood Village Madison – East.  She was the daughter of Bronislaw and Pauline (Sivolella) Kazalski and born in Newark, New Jersey.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Zoology from Rutgers University. Joan came to the University of Wisconsin to attend graduate school in 1954.  In 1956 she married William Chandler Burns at the First Unitarian Society in Madison.  She received her master’s degree in Zoology, Genetics and Social Work.  Joan was a Certified Genetic Counselor by the American Board of Genetic Counseling.

In 1974 Joan started her career at the Waisman Center, UW -Madison, eventually becoming a Clinical Professor. She developed the Genetic Counseling Training Program (first graduating class of 1978 at the UW Madison). During her professional career of teaching and promoting she instructed the importance of genetic counseling.  She worked in several of the clinics associated with the Waisman Center University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.  Joan served on many regional and national committees including the Association of Genetic Counseling, Program Directors, Great Lakes Regional Genetics Group, the Alliance of Genetic Support groups, the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics and served as the administrator of the Down Syndrome clinic.  She also established the Joan Burns Founder’s Scholarship program to support future genetic counseling graduate students. Joan retired in 1997 as Clinical Professor Emerita.

Joan is survived by her children, Gilbert (Carol) Burns, and Becky (Jeanne Sears) Burns and her grandchildren, Tim and Christine Burns, Dan (Lindsey) Statz, Courtney Burns and her sister Irene (Frank) Monica.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 58 years, Bill; and her children, Carol Statz and Alison Burns. Joan was a devoted family member and loved family gatherings. She was an active member of the First Unitarian Society.

A Memorial Service will be held on Sunday, January 22, 2023, at 2:00pm at the First Unitarian Society – Landmark Auditorium, 900 University Bay Drive, Madison, WI 53705

In lieu of flowers donations gifts may be made out to “Joan Burns Founder's Scholarship #112586552” at the UW Foundation, US Bank Lockbox 78807 Milwaukee, WI 53278.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joan Burns, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

First Unitarian Society - Landmark Auditorium

900 University Bay Dr, Madison, WI 53705

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