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World’s Most Loyal Employee Dead After 84 Years Of Working For The Same Firm

By Modupeoluwa Adekanye
28 December 2020   |   2:48 pm
John Burns was 98 and still working at TC Young Wilson Terris, in Edinburgh, the firm he joined as a 14-year-old. He spoke of retiring weeks before his death but hadn’t got round to it. He was still hand-delivering legal documents, bound in ribbon, around the Court of Session. John missed out on Guinness World…

World’s Most Loyal Employee Dead After 84 Years Of Working For The Same Firm

John Burns was 98 and still working at TC Young Wilson Terris, in Edinburgh, the firm he joined as a 14-year-old. He spoke of retiring weeks before his death but hadn’t got round to it.

He was still hand-delivering legal documents, bound in ribbon, around the Court of Session.

John missed out on Guinness World Records for the longest career in the same company, but only because he was serving his country during the Second World War and broke his continuous employment.

The record is held by Walter Orthmann from Brazil at 81 years and 85 days. But John’s continuous service was broken during the Second World War.

John, a grandad from Meadowbank, Edinburgh, died in his sleep last month, shortly after celebrating his birthday.

His daughter-in-law Nancy Burns, a nurse, said: “He lived for his job and was often seen running for the bus in the morning.”

John started work with the firm – then called Laird & Wilson Terris – in 1936 aged 14 after passing a test in English and maths. He held a variety of jobs, including office messenger, cashier, and legal messenger.

The dad of two and grandad of five was heartbroken when his wife Catherine died from motor neuron disease 12 years ago. He walked 20 miles of the West Highland Way to raise funds for research.

David said:

Dad found the funny side in everything and when life got bad he would shrug his shoulders and say: You’ve got to get on with it. John’s other great passion was football, and he saw his beloved Hibernian finally lift the Scottish Cup for the first time in his lifetime in 2016. He was ecstatic. That was after saying he would never live to see it.

His boss, Grant Knight, a partner with TC Young, said:

John was an inspiration to everyone who met him in his 84-year loyal service. Perhaps as he is no longer here to object to the fuss, he can get his well-deserved and posthumous recognition for the world’s longest-serving employee.