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Popular Brasher town board member Margaret Burns dies; she was running unopposed for re-election

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BRASHER FALLS — Margaret M. Burns, 64, who was the first woman to serve on the Brasher Town Council and whose name appears on today’s ballot for re-election, died Saturday.

“She was finishing up her eighth year, her second term,” Town Supervisor M. James Dawson said. “She was very popular. She earned it.”

Mrs. Burns and Councilman William D. Demo, also up for re-election, had no challengers this year. It will be up to town board members to appoint someone to fill Mrs. Burns’s vacancy, St. Lawrence County Election Commissioner Jennie H. Bacon said. The appointee will fill the first year of the term and will have to run for election in November 2014 to complete the remaining three years, she said.

Town leaders on Monday praised Mrs. Burns for her contributions to the community. In addition to serving on the town board, she was the first female interior firefighter for the Helena Fire Department and, according to her obituary, the first in St. Lawrence County.

Mrs. Burns and her husband, Frank, whom she married 44 years ago, started a first-responder service because of the town’s distance from other rescue squads, Mr. Dawson said.

“She had been getting up at midnight, during a hailstorm, on Christmas Day or doomsday and going wherever she needed to go with Frank to help people who needed emergency medical treatment. She did that for years and years and years,” he said.

“She’s probably one of the nicest persons I think I ever ran into,” First Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Durant said. “She always had a smile on her face.”

In addition to going on calls, Mrs. Burns was the department’s treasurer and a member of the department’s auxiliary, according to Mr. Durant.

She also served on the St. Lawrence Central School Board of Education, the Democratic Club and the Tri-Town Trailblazers Snowmobile Club.

Mrs. Burns retired in June 2012 after 28 years as a customer service representative at the W.B. Goodnow Agency in Winthrop.

“On the town board, Margaret knew what she wanted,” Mr. Dawson said. “She was opinionated, strong in her beliefs. We didn’t always agree; it was never personal. She was a tough lady.”

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