Dr. Robert Burns, Jr., physician and surgeon of St. Louis, with offices in the Lister building, was born August 17, 1879, in the city which is still his home. His father, Robert Burns, Sr., was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, and comes of a family that has been distinctively American in its lineal and collateral branches for several generations. He is now a patent attorney of Chicago. He married Emily Mary St. Gem, who was born in Fredericktown, Missouri, the ancestral record of her family dating back to the early part of the seventeenth century. They came to the United States from Montreal, Canada, and were long represented in Missouri. The marriage of Mr. And Mrs. Robert Burns, Sr., was celebrated in St. Louis in 1878.
Their only child is Robert Burns, Jr., who was educated in the public schools of St. Louis, in Smith Academy and in Washington University. He pursued his professional course in the last named institution, winning his M. D. degree in 1901. He was then appointed assistant to Dr. Herman Tuholski in the St. Louis Surgical Hospital and from 1901 until 1911 he also held the offices of junior assistant and senior assistant in Washington University Hospital. From 1911 until 1917 he was operating assistant to Dr. Herman Tuholski and through the succeeding two years was in the army service. Since 1909 he has been associate surgeon at the Bethesda Hospital.
During the World war Dr. Burns was commissioned in 1917 a lieutenant in the Medical Reserve Corps and in August of that year was commissioned captain and called to active service. In September he was stationed at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, and was chief of surgical service there. He also acted as president of the board of discharge and as president of the consulting medical board. He was promoted to the rank of major in January, 1918, and in July of that year left Fort Snelling and joined Base Hospital No. 78 at Fort McHenry in Maryland. He then left for overseas service in August, 1918, and was stationed at Toul, France, being connected with Justice Hospital Group at that place, where he was made chief of the surgical service. He was also chief operating surgeon and consulting surgeon and was advanced to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Medical Corps on the 17th of February, 1919. He returned to the United States in June following and was discharged from Camp Dix on the 19th of that month. While in Tout, France, he was a member of the general court martial and also president of the court. An interesting incident of his military experience came when he was presented with a silver loving cup upon leaving Fort Snelling, as a token of the esteem in which he was held by the army at that point.
In June, 1919, Dr. Burns returned to the private practice of surgery, in which he is now engaged, and he occupies an enviable position as a prominent representative of the profession in St. Louis.
Dr. Burns was married in St. Louis, January 3, 1903, to Miss Kathyrine Frances Ziegler, a daughter of Theodore C. and Irene (Ayres) Ziegler of this city. Dr. and Mrs. Burns have one child, Theodore Robert, born February 23, 1913.
Dr. Burns belongs to Tuscan Lodge, No. 360, A. F. & A. M., also to St. Louis Chapter, No. 8, R. A. M., to the Sunset Hill Golf Club and along strictly professional lines to the St. Louis Medical Society, the Missouri State Medical Association, the American Medical Association, the Surgeons Club and is also a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. In politics his position is that of an independent republican, while his religious faith is that of the Episcopal church. A well spent life, characterized by honorable purposes and by successful accomplishment of what he has undertaken, has gained for Dr. Burns the respect and confidence of his fellowmen and his record stands in contradiction to the old adage that a prophet is not without honor save in his own country, for in the city of his nativity Dr. Burns has made for himself a most creditable name and place.