Anchor Lynn Burry, known and beloved to viewers of NTV’s award-winning newscast,
The NTV Evening Newshour, swings the doors of her home wide open generously providing
a never-before-seen glimpse into her personal life
Lynn Burry opens the door to her home, swinging it as wide as her smile. Burry’s two fluffy, friendly westies, Lilly and Gus, pause briefly for a sniff, followed by an invitation for a scratch. Then, two eyes – topped with a scruff of thick hair – peek out into the hallway. Meet Donald Tipton, Burry’s grandson.
Seeing Burry in such roles; hostess, mom to fur babies, step-mom and grandma – or Mimi as she’s referred to by Donald – is fascinatingly endearing. Burry, it seems, is in her element.
The pups receive treats and Donald and his Octonauts toy gets attention. Lots and lots of attention.
WALTZING WITH MIMI
As the two laugh and carry on, the camera clicks away. Donald’s mom Laura Tipton, Burry’s step-daughter, smiles as the noise level increases.
“This is what it’s always like” she begins. Burry, Tipton confides, is “a wonderful player.” “She’s good at hide and seek, and there’s a thing they do where they throw down an oven mitt and there’s chasing around the island. It’s just cute watching the two of them be silly together,” she adds.
Burry holds her hand out elegantly to her grandson. “Would you like to waltz, Donald?” she asks. The four-year-old leaps into her arms as Burry begins to sing and sway. I could have danced all night … she sings and as the stands of the My Fair Lady classic echoes through her home, those watching feel as if they have glimpsed something beautifully personal. “We’ve been waltzing since he was an infant, and he always loved it. I would ask him before he could talk; would you like to waltz? And he would nod his head, and he would have a big smile on his face. So it’s been something he’s done – we’ve done – since he was a little baby,” Burry shares with affection when the waltz has ended.
Burry adores her role as ‘Mimi’. “You get all the fun and not much of the work,” she laughs. “Laura and I are very close. She’s my step-daughter, and I don’t have any biological children myself, so when Donald came along – and he looks just like Frank, he really does – that’s just been so special. He’s been a little joy in our lives and we love teaching him and spending time with him. And he’s got the sweetest little personality and he’s got a great sense of humour. You can joke with him. I call him Henrietta and he will laugh and say, my name’s not Henrietta. And he’s just a really good little boy and you sense that he likes being around us as much as we like being around him.”
The role of Mimi is one she cherishes, she adds. “It’s a different phase of your life. I’m 54 and I chose not to have children. Frank has kids, but it wasn’t a priority in my life back then. Now that Donald’s here it’s a totally different experience for me. And I don’t have any brothers or sisters either so I’m not used to being around young kids, so to be enjoying him so much is fabulous,” she says candidly.
Burry, who was at hand when Donald Francis – named after both grandfathers – was close to being born before Laura was whisked away for a c-section, with husband John at her side, says there’s so much to look forward to.
“It’s only now he’s getting into Halloween and Christmas, so this year we are really looking forward to being the best. He likes Halloween more than Christmas, and so do I. I got him a little shirt the other day with a haunted house on it and he was excited to wear that to school. He’s a real social butterfly and at every event he is more than willing to be part of it, so I can’t wait for Christmas.”
Gus and Lilly move in on ‘mom’ for some love too. “They are former show dogs, they’ve both been in dog shows. Lilly actually won best puppy in Canada. But I’ve always had a dog. As a child we had a German Sheppard and we had a beagle. They are my babies and they are a very important part of our lives. They give you so much enjoyment. Donald loves them. How can you not love them?” The dogs need a little romp time in the backyard. Burry takes in the view.
Burry and her husband Frank moved into their home in 2000. Back then, the backyard was a bare, blank canvass. Today, it’s lovely. There’s a weeping beech, a Japanese Maple, a burning bush, a blue spruce and a cherry tree. And flowers.
“I love the backyard. To be able to see it is peaceful and in the summertime it’s so lovely. And it’s fun to watch things grow. I can’t believe we’ve been here 17 years. The thing with me is, I’m a home person. I said to Frank the other night; I love being home. And I know some people who hate going home after work. I’m not one of those. I love being in my house. I love being able to sit here and look at out the flowers, or out at my trees.”
‘SOOTHES YOUR SOUL’
Burry says her goal is to create an atmosphere that’s warm and inviting, but not just for her family.
“I want people to be able to come in and feel welcome, and people have made a comment that I take as a great compliment; they say the atmosphere in our house is one of warmth and people are cosy here. They are comfortable here. And I think that’s fantastic. I like the peace it gives you in life, to be able to come home and relax seeing beautiful green things around you. It does something to center you and soothes your soul.”
Something else helps sooth Burry’s soul; their place in Trinity. “Trinity is a labour of love,” she begins.
She and her husband bought land there years ago, but they didn’t develop it right away – until their priorities changed suddenly one day. “I had a bit of a health scare back in 2007 and they discovered a tumour in my thyroid gland and they didn’t know if it was cancer or not. Luckily, when the pathology came back, it wasn’t cancerous. But it kind of gives you a little bit of a wake up call that says; move forward with things. If you have plans, do that. So we went ahead and built our house in Trinity.”
It’s been enjoyable, she says, adding that Donald loves it there and it has become a place where friends and family gather. “It’s a place to relax. We will go for a walk or go out on the boat or we will go to a restaurant for lunch. It’s all about creating a feeling of happiness and comfort in your own home away from home.”
Of course, not every moment in Trinity has been tranquil and peaceful, like the morning Burry’s two dogs; Claire and Gus back then, got away for a wee romp. “It was a really hot mornings in the summer, one of those rare mornings when it’s 9 a.m. and 24/25 degrees. And I was out looking at our grass because we hadn’t had rain in a while, thinking maybe I needed to turn the sprinklers on that evening.”
In a flash, Claire and Gus were gone. In a panic, she called Frank to hurry home. As he is pulling in, so is a neighbour.
“A man came by in his truck, rolled down his window and said, do you own two little white dogs? And I said yes, have you seen them? And he said yes. They are just down the road in the farmer’s manure pit. We go down and I look at them and Gus has manure all over the side of his face and his legs and ribs are coated and Claire is covered and so, on one of the hottest days of the summer, I’m roasting, in my rubber boots, going through the garden with two dogs covered in manure. Hi, I’m Lynn Burry. Welcome to the neighbourhood.”
When she’s not wading through manure-filled fields, Burry can be found on the anchor desk at NTV.
“I enjoy my work. This started for me in ’83, though I wanted to be a nurse truth be told, and that obviously didn’t work out.”
‘PERSPECTIVE & GRATITUDE’
Burry grew up in a very politically engaged household, and she admits she was more into politics than most her age. “I fell into a job in radio and I was there six months and then I came over to NTV. I was 20 years old and the expression in over your head may well apply but it was also the best opportunity I ever had so I worked hard, and here we are.”
NTV has taught her so much, she says. ”The way I look at things, there are two words that should guide your life; perspective and gratitude. I look at our lives and we have it pretty good. We don’t live in a war-torn country, we are not starving, we are able to go out and support our families. So put that into perspective and then be grateful for what you have. I’ve never felt entitled to anything. I have always worked hard and I appreciate everything I’ve gotten from that hard work. I’m very lucky. I have a wonderful life. And work has taught me to see the big picture.”
She’s used what she’s learned at the anchor desk in her own life. “My husband went through cancer and he nearly died. He could have easily have died, it was that serious. He is very lucky, we are lucky. We didn’t let cancer take over our lives though. That was the worst for us, even the doctors said this could go either way. We remained and remain grateful.”
Recognize what you have. The grass is not always greener, she adds, sharing how one of the greatest gifts she’s received is her ability to compartmentalize. Put things where they need to be, prioritize, let go and deal with the most important things first. Adapt quickly if priorities change. And again, be grateful.
“We live in Newfoundland and this is a wonderful place. We joked with Eddie (Sheerr) the other night; we don’t always have the best weather but we are not having wildfires. We are not having hurricanes. Right now it’s raining, it’s cold, but hey, it’s not life-threatening.”
MIMI’S AIR TIME
Does Donald watch her on television? You bet, says Laura. “We watch her every single night and he says, ‘there’s Mim!’ He tells stories sometimes like, I have a crocodile, which is normal for a four-year-old, and one day I went to the daycare and they go, oh, it’s so funny, he was saying today that his grandmother was on television. And I was like, she is.”
Burry laughs. “I think he used to assume everyone was on TV, but then he used to look at Michael Connors and say, oh look! Daddy! Because Michael and John kind of look alike, so he was confused about who we all were at one point,” Burry laughs.
But now, he gets it a little better. “For him, it’s normal. Mimi is on the television and now he’s excited to get his picture taken to be on The Herald. I’m thrilled he thinks it’s great. For me, the journey’s been worth it just for moments like these.”