Dr. Robert “Arnold” Bur­den MD CM

The Amherst News - - COMMUNITY -

It is with sad­ness that the fam­ily of Dr. Robert Arnold Bur­den an­nounces his pass­ing. He died peace­fully on Satur­day, March 17, 2018 in his ninety-sixth year with his lov­ing wife Helen at his side. He left with courage and dig­nity know­ing that he was deeply loved by his fam­ily.

Arnold was born in Springhill on April 28, 1922 and lived there for most of his life.

When not car­ing for his pa­tients or per­form­ing his du­ties as Chief Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer for the Springhill In­sti­tu­tion, he en­joyed many ac­tiv­i­ties, but times in the woods and on the wa­ters around Nova Sco­tia were al­ways his favourites. His love of na­ture was of­ten de­picted in his art­works.

A pas­sion­ate sto­ry­teller, he savoured the op­por­tu­nity to share his many life ad­ven­tures with a will­ing au­di­ence. This de­vel­oped into a later life in­ter­est in writ­ing and re­sulted in his book - Fifty Years of Emer­gen­cies: The Dra­matic Life of a Coun­try Doc­tor.

Arnold was an avid stamp col­lec­tor and artist. He also en­joyed ge­neal­ogy, read­ing, gar­den­ing and most re­cently a sim­ple drive in the car with no des­ti­na­tion in mind.

Arnold was mar­ried to Helen (De­war), his best friend and the love of his life on Au­gust 4, 1948 and they en­joyed 70 won­der­ful years to­gether. Arnold is sur­vived by Helen; his sis­ter Au­drey; (Fill­more), and sons Bill (Sue); Kent (Sharon); David (Char­lene) and Tim (Marie). Fondly re­mem­bered by his grand­chil­dren Kather­ine, Bradley, Jane, Jill, Ni­cholas, Matthew, Emily, Sarah, and Jennifer; and four Great Grand­chil­dren.

He was pre­de­ceased by his par­ents Ge­orge Cle­ment “Brownie,” Mary “Mayme” Pearl (O’Rourke), and his step mother Mil­dred Leah (Amon).

Arnold was ed­u­cated in the Springhill school sys­tem and com­pleted his High School at the Cum­ber­land County Academy in Amherst. He en­rolled in the Royal Cana­dian Army Med­i­cal Corps in Jan­uary of 1941 serv­ing in Eng­land, France, Bel­gium, Holland, and Ger­many.

He was posted to the No. 7 Cana­dian Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal, which was the first Cana­dian hos­pi­tal to land on Juno Beach af­ter D-Day. He was re­leased from the mil­i­tary in De­cem­ber of 1945 and later be­came a Cap­tain in the Mili­tia.

Upon com­ple­tion of his mil­i­tary ser­vice, he ob­tained his med­i­cal de­gree from Dal­housie Uni­ver­sity (1952) while work­ing sum­mer va­ca­tions in the Springhill mines. He loved medicine and prac­ticed as a doc­tor and sur­geon for al­most 50 years.

Arnold was also very proud to be a “Springhiller” and fondly re­counted how the min­ers had looked af­ter and pro­tected him en­sur­ing his med­i­cal skills would be avail­able to those in need. Arnold never for­got his friends who toiled in the mines and how they helped en­sure he was able to ob­tain his med­i­cal de­gree.

He cher­ished this bond and was trag­i­cally forced to come to the aid of his friends on more than one oc­ca­sion. In 1956, an ex­plo­sion rocked Springhill’s No. 4 mine. Arnold was the first doc­tor to go un­der­ground, mak­ing three trips, barefaced, to help in res­cue op­er­a­tions.

Fol­low­ing the No. 2 Bump in 1958, he did it again, spend­ing a to­tal of 33 hours un­der­ground. Many of his friends were among the 114 men who were killed in the two in­ci­dents. The dev­as­tat­ing im­pact of these events on the com­mu­nity led to him stay­ing in Springhill to help his com­mu­nity re­build.

Hav­ing grown up in a min­ing town dur­ing the de­pres­sion, it was the sim­ple things in life that he never took for granted.

He would of­ten com­ment on how for­tu­nate and thank­ful he was. Above all, Arnold was ab­so­lutely de­voted to his wife and sons.

He was a fa­ther who al­ways in­volved him­self in his sons’ lives and sup­ported, re­spected, and loved his wife un­con­di­tion­ally. He was a man of strong and quiet faith, be­liev­ing in the power and strength of Je­sus Christ’s love and the beauty and peace that would await him af­ter his pass­ing.

Arnold al­ways cared for peo­ple and had a pas­sion for serv­ing his com­mu­nity. Through­out much of his life Arnold qui­etly per­formed many vol­un­teer hours with var­i­ous or­ga­ni­za­tions. These in­cluded the Cana­dian Can­cer So­ci­ety, St. John Am­bu­lance, Cum­ber­land Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion, Ro­tary Club, Royal Cana­dian Le­gion and Boy Scouts. Arnold was well known and re­spected in his com­mu­nity. He was a Springhill boy of the Great­est Gen­er­a­tion and placed the needs of oth­ers be­fore his own.

He be­came Chief of Staff at All Saints Hos­pi­tal and contributed to nu­mer­ous med­i­cal boards and com­mit­tees.

He was a mem­ber of the Cum­ber­land Branch of the Nova Sco­tia Med­i­cal So­ci­ety for over 30 years and in 1987 was awarded Se­nior Mem­ber­ship in the Nova Sco­tia Med­i­cal So­ci­ety for out­stand­ing ser­vice to medicine and the com­mu­nity.

He was ap­pointed to the Board of Mar­itime Med­i­cal Care for 14 years; eleven of which were on the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee where he held var­i­ous po­si­tions in­clud­ing both Vice Pres­i­dent and Pres­i­dent.

Arnold was a gen­tle­man and gen­tle man who used his abil­i­ties over a life­time to serve his coun­try and com­mu­nity.

In recog­ni­tion of his ef­forts he was ap­pointed to the Or­der of Nova Sco­tia, re­ceived the Car­ing Cana­dian Award and was hon­oured by France as a Knight of the Na­tional Or­der of the Le­gion of Hon­our.

He was a life­time mem­ber of both the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion and the Ro­tary Club. This work lead to him be­ing awarded a Paul Har­ris fel­low for his sup­port and ded­i­ca­tion to the Ro­tary Chil­dren’s and Po­lio Clin­ics and other ef­forts in sup­port of phys­i­cally dis­abled chil­dren.

Arnold lived a full life with a com­pas­sion that en­sured he would be re­mem­bered by more than words, but for a legacy of car­ing for oth­ers and his com­mu­nity. He once men­tioned in a tele­vi­sion in­ter­view, he hoped to be re­mem­bered as “a pretty good fella”.

The fam­ily would like to ex­tend a heart­felt thank you to the med­i­cal teams at the Springhill and Amherst hos­pi­tals and Gables Nurs­ing Home for their care and com­pas­sion. The love and care pro­vided by Eleanor, Kathy and the staff of Lean on Me As­sisted Liv­ing has been sec­ond to none and the fam­ily will be eter­nally grate­ful for their many kind­nesses. The help pro­vided by the Dept. of Vet­eran’s Af­fairs has been out­stand­ing.

Ar­range­ments are un­der the care and di­rec­tion of A H Brown Funeral Home, 5 McFar­lane Street, Springhill, (902 597 2361) from where a time of vis­i­ta­tion will be held from 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm on Mon­day, March 26, 2018. A funeral ser­vice will take place at A H Brown Funeral Home on Tues­day, March 27, 2018 at 2 pm with Rev. Wayne McCarther of­fi­ci­at­ing. A grave­side ser­vice will be held at the Hill­side Ceme­tery, Springhill in the spring.

Con­do­lences and shar­ing of mem­o­ries may be sent to the fam­ily by vis­it­ing ‘s Arnold’s on­line memo­rial at www.browns­fu­ner­al­home.com or through the A. H. Brown Funeral Home Face­book Page.

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