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Posted on December 17, 2015 | 7:03 a.m.

Nan Triplett Burns of Santa Barbara, 1924-2015

Source: Patricia Dixon

Nan Triplett Burns

Nan Triplett Burns, 91 years young and vibrant, passed away peacefully on Dec. 4, 2015.

Her last smiles were for friends and family who visited her in her final days.

Nan was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, to B.C. and Ina Davis Triplett on Jan. 31, 1924. She spent her early years in East Bend in the mountains of North Carolina, then grew up in Harrell’s in Eastern North Carolina.

She was the youngest of five children and the only girl. She helped on their little farm and even picked cotton, tobacco and strawberries for pennies per quart.

Nan started learning to play tennis on her own in junior high, a skill that would follow her into her 80s.

In 1941, she attended Braughn School of Commerce in Atlanta, Georgia. After college, she worked for 20th Century Fox in Atlanta as a typist booking movies into Atlanta theaters.

At this time she met and married Ernest Bivans who was attending Georgia Tech. They had three children, Patricia, Van and Bruce. After the war they moved to Massachusetts where they lived until their move to Santa Barbara in 1961.

Nan fell in love instantly with Santa Barbara, and never left. They immediately joined La Cumbre Country Club, where they enjoyed golf and where Nan recaptured her love of tennis, playing in inter-club competitions.

They joined the Newcomers club from which many longtime friendships were formed and from which she joined many local nonprofit organizations.

Nan worked for a while at Robinson’s department store in the jewelry and fashion departments. She often modeled in shows and for Mr. Milton Furs.

She and Ernie joined the Los Fiesteros dance club, which she continued to enjoy for many years, even up until the week before her stroke.

After her divorce from Ernie, she was married to Dr. Wyman Burns from 1976 until his death in 1989. They had an active social life and enjoyed sailing on his “Cal 40” at the Santa Barbara Yacht Club.

She met Dr. Greg Dahlen, her beloved life partner, in 1995 and they had just celebrated 20 years together.

They were very active in the arts community, enjoying music and theatrical performances, dances, including Los Fiesteros, and club events. Her calendar was always full.

They traveled extensively all over the world with family and friends.

She worked with many local organizations, including the Santa Barbara Symphony League, Opera Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Zoo Auxiliary, the Montecito/Hope Ranch Republican Women’s Club, Friends of the Lobero, the Children’s Home Society and Transition House.

She and Greg attended both Trinity Lutheran Church and First United Methodist Church, where they acted as greeters.

Nan leaves behind her beloved Greg; three children, Patricia Dixon, Van Bivans (Pam) and Bruce Bivans (Leslie); three granddaughters, Monica Hennessee, Crystal Bivans and Crystal Fielding; two great-grandchildren, Blake Gagosian and Scarlett Hennessee; and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held on Jan. 2, 2016, at 10:30 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Santa Barbara.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Nan’s name may be made to the Santa Barbara Symphony at 1330 State St, Santa Barbara; or to Transition House at 425 E. Cota St., Santa Barbara.


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