The Garden Island
Notice #: 0001034561-02
Funeral Notices

PAMELA BURNS 1951 – 2017 Pamela Burns, President & CEO of the Hawaiian Humane Society for the past 27 years, died peacefully at home on September 18, following a brief illness. Pam was born on December 16, 1951 in Hilo Hawaii, the youngest of four children. The family lived in Olaa where her father, C E.S. Burns Jr., was Manager of Olaa Sugar Co. and they later moved to Waipahu on Oahu where her father was Manager of Oahu Sugar Co. Pam’s mother, Ann Walker Burns, was the daughter of H.A. Walker, President and General Manager of American Factors Ltd., one of five sugar processing corporations known as "The Big Five" that dominated the economy of the Territory of Hawaii. Her grandfather, Caleb Burns, was Manager of Pioneer Mill at Lahaina on Maui and later Lihue Plantation on Kauai. Pam’s great grandfather, J. S. Walker, had served King Kalakaua in several cabinet posts including Auditor General and Minister of Finance. As a mark of royal favor, he was awarded the Commanders Cross of the Royal Order of Kalakaua, the Grand Officer of the Royal Order of the Crown of Hawaii and the Grand Cross, highest order of royal orders of the Crown of Hawaii. J. S. Walker was also the first president of the Hawaiian Humane Society, founded in 1883 and endorsed by the king. Pam attended Punahou on Oahu, Chatham Hall in Virginia and graduated from Whittier College in California with bachelor’s degrees in art and social work. Upon returning to Honolulu, she worked at HMSA, Rehab Hawaii and Straub Clinic & Hospital, where she spent 8 years developing, marketing and administrating Straub’s health plans. In 1989, Pam applied for the post of Executive Director of the Hawaiian Humane Society, and after an extensive national search, she was offered the position in 1990. Six years later, she became President & CEO. An interest in animal welfare was something that ran in the family – in addition to her great-grandfather being the first president of the Hawaiian Humane Society, Pam’s grandmother, Una C. Walker, was a Board Member of the Hawaiian Humane Society in the 1930s and her sister, Cecelia, served as Executive Director of the Maui Humane Society in the early 1980s. During her 27 years at the Hawaiian Humane Society, Pam transformed it from an organization with 35 employees and an operating budget of $1.5 million to one with a staff of 80 and an annual budget of over $8 million. Under her leadership, the Society’s Moiliili campus underwent several renovations to improve the care of animals and make the campus more accessible to the community. Among many other changes, she made it easier to adopt a pet, for Pam often told the story of how the Society had once rejected her application to adopt a cat on the grounds that she had a full-time job and was single and no one would be home during the day to take care of her pet. The Hawaiian Humane Society motto ‘people for animals, animals for people’ was created by Pam to emphasize her belief that both people and animals should be accorded mutual respect. Pam firmly believed that legislation, community education and outreach were all needed to create positive changes in animal welfare. She was instrumental in the passage of many state and county animal-related laws while also advocating an informal "grassroots" approach to strengthen what she termed the "human-animal bond." To that end, the Society expanded their services and now offers more than 30 community programs. Pam’s counsel was sought by national and international animal welfare groups, humane societies, veterinarians and even the pet industry. She was Board Chair and Board member the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators, Board Vice President of the National Council on Pet Population, a member of Petco’s Independent Animal Care Advisory Council and President of the Hawaii Association of Animal Welfare Agencies. She partnered with the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International and traveled to Taiwan, New Zealand and South Africa and worked with delegates from Japan, Guam, Saipan, Palau, the Northern Mariana Islands, Marjuro (Marshall Islands), Federated States of Micronesia and American Samoa to lead workshops that trained veterinarians, government officials and pet owners on humane animal care methods and how to successfully advocate for animal protection laws. She was also a Board member of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Hawaii, the Junior League of Honolulu, Planned Parenthood, the Volunteer Information and Referral Service and HEMIC, and was a founding member of Hospice Hawaii and the Hawaii Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations. Pam lived in her family home on Tantalus and as President of Friends of Tantalus, quietly had Tantalus Round Top Drive designated both state and nationally as Oahu’s only historic road. Her immediate surviving family is canine Daisy, felines UmiaLiloa, Pilikia, Melemele and husband Irving Jenkins. She is also survived by her sister Cecelia B. (Robert H.) Smith of Honaunau, brother Caleb E.S. (Jane T.) Burns of Portland, Oregon and Peter W. (Paula Trask) Burns of Kahaluu, as well as being a loving aunt to her 2 nephews and 5 nieces.