Lester Wade "Cappy" Burnside, Jr., 80, died Saturday, August 30, 2014, after a period of failing health.
Burnside was the driving force in Harrison County's successful effort to attract the Federal Bureau of Investigation's CJIS division. He had just taken office as President of Harrison 2000 in January 1990 when Senator Robert C. Byrd asked West Virginia communities to prepare for FBI teams which would be looking for possible sites. Burnside quickly searched for appropriate locations with the result that Harrison County submitted four sites for consideration. Three other counties also submitted sites. At the same time, he established a rapport with FBI officials and, in the ensuing months, worked constantly to overcome numerous obstacles. In January 1991, Senator Byrd announced the FBI's decision to relocate to Harrison County, cheering news to this depressed area.
For most of his adult life, Cappy Burnside was involved in community concerns. He served a two-year term as President of the Harrison County Chamber of Commerce beginning in 1988. In 1985, he had initiated the Blue Ribbon Committee of the Chamber to unify economic development efforts. This grew into the Joint Committee for Economic Development, which eventually incorporated as Harrison 2000.
Burnside's interests and contributions to the community were varied and numerous: West Virginia Life Science Center, Board of Directors; Association of Industrial Development, Board of Directors; Clarksburg Industrial Development Corporation: President, 1989-1990; Miss West Virginia Scholarship Pageant: President, 1979; Builders' Supply Association of West Virginia: Board of Directors, 1965-1991; President, 1969; Boy Scouts of America, Central West Virginia Council: Board of Directors; North Bend Rails to Trails Foundation: Advisory Board; American Society of Highway Engineers, Central West Virginia Chapter: President, 1989; Mon Valley Tri-State Network; Mountaineer Country Travel Council: Board of Directors; Clarksburg Planning and Zoning Commission: Member, 1963-1978; The Oak Mound Bank: Board of Directors, 1976-1982; Salvation Army Advisory Board; Black Diamond Girl Scout Council: Board of Directors; Clarksburg Kiwanis Club: President 1969-1970.
From 1992 until 2006, Burnside was a board member of the Friends of West Virginia Public Radio, which he served as chair in 1995 and then as treasurer. He proudly displayed a mounted pipe labeled Peacemaker to commemorate his ability to solve a difficult situation.
The Route 279 bridge over I-79 will be dedicated in his honor on September 26, 2014, in recognition of his efforts to attract the FBI to Harrison County.
In October 2010, Governor Joe Manchin III named him a Distinguished Mountaineer. In 1996, the Harrison County Chamber of Commerce recognized Burnside's outstanding service to the community with special recognition of his FBI efforts. The Society of Highway Engineers selected him Man of the Year in 1988. When he retired from the Planning and Zoning Commission after fifteen years of service, the Commission published a proclamation expressing appreciation for his "dedicated, unselfish, and invaluable assistance."
Burnside was president and treasurer of Consolidated Supply Company, which he closed in 1992. In recent years, he was a consultant to building supply firms, specializing in materials for highways and bridges.
Born in Clarksburg on January 30, 1934, his parents were the late Lester W. Burnside and Louise Nowery Burnside. He graduated from Greenbrier Military School in Lewisburg in 1951, where he developed leadership skills and and the code by which he lived: Truth Duty Honor. He was a 1955 graduate of West Virginia University, where he was a member of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity and Scabbard and Blade, military honorary. He was a Life Member of the WVU Alumni Foundation and was inducted into the Emeritus Club in 2005. He served in the United States Army for two years and retired as a captain in the United States Army Reserve.
He leaves his wife, Carolyn Reynolds Burnside, with whom he had celebrated fifty-eight years of marriage; two daughters, Kate Burnside, Nizwa, Sultanate of Oman; and Mary Wade Triplett and her husband, Arnold Sennett Triplett, Bridgeport; his grandson, Patrick William Sommerville Finley and his wife, Kristen and their son, Evan, Palmyra, N.J.; his sister, Barbara Burnside Wood, Montgomery Village, Md.; his stepsister, Mary Frances Gaylord Loy and her husband, John, Clinton, N.Y.; and several nieces.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Mary Ann Burnside Browning; his parents; his stepmother, Helen Sayer Burnside; and his loving labradoodle, Bert. The Burnside family was among the earliest settlers of Good Hope, southern Harrison County, arriving in 1797.
A memorial service will take place at a later date, after which the family will receive friends at a luncheon. Although Cappy Burnside chose cremation, his spirit will be at the party.
Rather than flowers, please make memorial donations to the Friends of West Virginia Public Radio or to a charity of choice.
- See more at: http://www.wvgazette.com/gz/Obituaries#308319977