An ambitious, well-respected and loyal man who cherished his family


MELROSE Lester H.N. “Bud” Burnham, a longtime resident of Melrose, passed away at home on Friday, October 15, 2021 at age 82.

Lester was born in Boston on March 21, 1939, the son of the late Judith A. (Nelson) and Harold W. Burnham. Known as “Bud,” he was raised and educated in Melrose and graduated from Melrose High School with the Class of 1956. He met his future wife, Emelie Margeson, while at Melrose High, and they would go on to share many years of love and friendship.

Bud’s work ethic and self-dependence was instilled at a young age from his father who grew up on a farm in Hampton, Conn. He would rely on this work ethic throughout his life and would pass it on to his children. While in high school, Bud established his own landscaping business in Melrose, mowing lawns, paving driveways, and doing masonry work. He received his degree in 1963 from Boston University, and owned and operated Burnham Real Estate, providing commercial management and brokerage to clients throughout the Northeast from 1960 until retiring in the early 1980s.

Bud was an ambitious, determined man who cherished his family, and valued his community. In 1975, he became a Trustee of the Fitch Home where he served for 40 years, including 20 years as President. He also helped revitalize downtown Melrose, serving as President of the Melrose Redevelopment Authority for 25 years.

With his family, he enjoyed traveling across the United States via motor-home, visiting all 50 states. He also enjoyed special trips to Europe, Alaska and Bermuda with Emelie. Bud looked forward to spending time in New Hampshire during the summer months boating on Lake Winnipesaukee and spending time with family at their home in Moultonborough. In his free time, Bud enjoyed model trains and antique cars, especially his 1949 Chrysler Woody convertible.

Bud was a well-respected, ambitious, and loyal man with strong family values and a keen sense of adventure. He leaves a legacy that inspires his children and grandchildren. He will be deeply missed, but always lovingly remembered for his self-reliance, honest hard work and family values.

Bud was the beloved husband of Emelie (Margeson) Burnham with whom he shared 53 years of marriage. He was the devoted father of David N. Burnham and his wife, Joyce, of Reading and Andrew L. Burnham and his wife, Suzanne, of North Reading. He was the cherished grandfather of Tyler, Samuel, Pierce, Parker and Paxton.

Relatives and friends were invited to gather during visiting hours at the Robinson Funeral Home, 809 Main St., Melrose on Tuesday, Oct. 19 from 4-7 p.m. Funeral services will be private. Interment in Puritan Lawn Memorial Park, Peabody. In lieu of flowers, consider donations to the Fitch Home, 75 Lake Ave., Melrose MA 02176, For online tribute visit