David Ray Burrus, former long time resident of New Orleans, La, now resident of Palm Beach Shores, FL, passed away at his home on May 11 th, 2014.
Born in Lexington, Kentucky on March 3, 1941, David is predeceased by his parents Ray Burrus and Margaret Burrus. He is survived by his wife, Joyce Bryant Burrus; daughter, Kerri Burrus Barry (husband Michael); grandchildren David Lee Adams and Shelley Hoddinott; step-children Kevin Rems and Katelyn Rems; brother Harold E. Burrus; and sister Betty Burrus Flannery, a niece, and many nephews. Also survived by his former wife, Judith Fos Burrus, mother of Kerri Burrus Barry and grandmother of David Lee Adams and Shelley Hoddinott.
At age 14, David was chosen to be a part of the Kentucky Youth Symphony Orchestra and played the trumpet on the stage of Carnegie Hall with his peers. After graduating from Henry Clay High School in Lexington, KY, David enlisted in the U.S. Navy. David’s rank was Yeoman and was assigned to the aircraft carrier “Antietam” and was a secretary to the captain of the ship. After being stationed in Pensacola, FL, the ship sailed to New Orleans, La for Mardi Gras, where he met his future wife, Judith Fos.
After being honorably discharged from the Navy in 1961, David married Judith Fos, and resided in New Orleans for the next 40 years. A born businessman and consummate entrepreneur, David started several successful businesses. As a young man, he launched the beginnings of what would become a storied career in New Orleans real estate and investments. Along the way, David was mentored by Alex Berger of Canal Jewelry and Berger Investments; later, Mr. Berger’s son, Darryl, became a valued protégé and long time business partner. Together, they purchased the Delta Towers Hotel in 1972, the first of many important real estate projects in the downtown area throughout the 1970’s and 80’s, including the redevelopment of the nationally renowned Jackson Brewery project.
Throughout the rest of his life, David Burrus continued his highly successful career as a major real estate investor and financier. Together with business partner George Newton, he purchased the Doubletree Hotel; the Pontchartrain Hotel; founded Expotel Hospitality; and was the principle investor in dozens of other hotels and various commercial properties in the metro New Orleans area and across the world.
In addition to his widely recognized business acumen, David Burrus was involved in many civic and charitable endeavors. He was a founding member and board member of the New Orleans Police Foundation. Additionally, in conjunction with his great friend, the late Dr. Mervin Trail, he provided invaluable strategic advice and financial guidance to major transformative civic projects that included the New Orleans Convention Center (now Morial Convention Center); the expansion of the LSU Medical Center; the establishment of the LSU Health Sciences Foundation; and the early formative days of the New Orleans Sports Foundation. David and his family were active philanthropically, providing the naming gift for the signature Rainforest exhibit in the Aquarium of the Americas. He was a former President and founding member of the Men of Fashion organization, which continues to provide charitable support in the community. David was also a member of the Consular Corps, as Honorary Consul to Sri Lanka, and was involved in many other civic Boards and Committees.
In addition to his business, community, and civic endeavors, David Burrus was an active sportsman, as a long-time member of the Big Game Fishing Club in Port Eads, and was a renowned owner of Paso Fino horses at his ranch in Mississippi, “Rainbow Ridge”.
Following a lifetime of accomplishments in the New Orleans area and beyond, David moved to south Florida in the late 1990’s. He met his future bride, Joyce Bryant, in 2008 and they were married in 2012 where the two of them resided happily in Palm Beach Shores until the time of his death.
David Burrus was a tremendously successful self-made man who loved his family, served his community, and prospered greatly in business. He had a wonderfully engaging personality, filled every room he ever entered, and had an unmatched joie de vivre and an abundant love of life. He touched many lives, and conveyed invaluable and lasting lessons and advice to so many. David leaves behind a loving family, and a legion of admirers and friends.
The family request that in lieu of flowers, that donations be made to St. Jude Children’s’ research in his name.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend a Funeral Service at LAKE LAWN METAIRIE FUNERAL HOME, 5100 Pontchartrain Blvd. on Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 1:00 P.M. Visitation will begin at 10:00 A.M. Interment will follow in Metairie Cemetery. To view and sign the family guestbook, please visit lakelawnmetairie.com.