Obituary – Preston Burl

Preston Burl, age 80, of 60 Church Street, Saranac Lake, died Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at the Adirondack Medical Center.

Born in Town of Franklin, on October 01, 1932, he was the son of Preston and Helen (Shumway) Burl. Preston, married Barbara Clookey on November 17, 1951 at St. Bernard’s Church in Saranac Lake.

Preston had been employed as an electrician for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union in Plattsburgh for many years until his retirement in 1995.

Preston was a member of the Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department for 29 years serving from 1957 to 1986. He held many offices in the Department including serving as the Chief from 1966 to 1969. Preston was recently featured in an article in the Orlando Sentinel for his life saving action on January 2, 1964 at the St. Regis Hotel Fire in Saranac Lake. Preston was precariously standing on a ladder when he caught a four year old girl who fell from an upper story window while trying to escape down a ladder with her mother. Preston was schedule to receive a certificate of appreciation this September from the New York State Fire Chief’s Association for his years of service and heroic efforts on that day. He also was a member of the fire department bowling team for many years.

Preston was a member of the Saranac Lake Elk’s Club BPOE 1508, Saranac Lake Moose Lodge and a past president of the Saranac Lake V.F.W. Preston was an avid golfer and hunter.

He is survived by his wife Barbara Burl of Saranac Lake, three daughters Thalene Bates and her husband Ric of The Villages, FL, Robin Barnum and her husband Chris of Halfmoon, NY, and Trista Marro and her husband Joe of North Carolina, two sons Preston Burl and his wife Nancy of Apex, NC and Garvin Burl and his companion Robin Rassman of Saranac Lake, seven grandchildren, 6 great grandchildren, one step brother Robert Martin, one step sister Betty Martin and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father Preston Burl, his mother Helen Burl, his step father Robert Martin, one daughter Valerie Wales, one brother Albert Theriault, two step brothers Donald and Pete Martin and three sisters Joan Ormsby, Dorothy Sexton and Virginia Bowen.

Calling hours will take place at the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home on Monday, September 16, 2013 from 4:00 PM to 7:00PM. A fireman’s’ prayer service will take place at 6:45 PM Monday evening. A funeral service will immediately follow at 7:00 P.M. at the funeral home, with Rev. John Yonkovig officiating. Burial will take place in St. Bernard’s Cemetery at a later date.

Friends wishing to remember Preston Burl may make memorial contributions to Saranac Lake Vol. Fire Dept. in care of the funeral home. Family and friends can also share their memories and sign the online guestbook at

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