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He saved Burbank’s Rose float

March 10, 2010

In the early 1990s, Burbank nearly stopped producing Rose Parade floats because city welders cost too much in overtime.

Then Donald Hames stepped in. Hames asked the Burbank City Council to give the Burbank Tournament of Roses a shot, and let them learn welding and float-building. With Hames’ persistence, and community drive to continue the tradition, the association transformed into one of the few remaining groups to build its own Rose float.

Hames, director emeritus of the Burbank Tournament of Roses, died March 1 of natural causes. He was 80.

Born in 1930 in Glendale, he graduated from Hoover High School in 1948. He moved to Burbank in 1954 and lived there until 1960. He worked for General Controls in Glendale for 34 years.


He is survived by his wife, Norene, and children Ron, Nancy, Dan, James and John. He leaves behind four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Hames loved the floats and giving tours of the facility where they are built, said John Hames, a former association president.

“If he had any spare time, he’d be down at the float, working on it,” John Hames said. “When he retired, it was the one thing that he just loved to do. He was always a very giving person.”

As a teenager, he was the third successful polio surgery survivor, and the longtime volunteer chose to donate his body for two years to the Loma Linda University School of Medicine. After the two years, his body will be cremated and returned to his family.

The family and association chose to have the service at the float site where Donald Hames dedicated much of his time.

“He was so intertwined with the floats, we feel like he’s part of us,” Steven Edward, Burbank Tournament of Roses Float vice president, said. “He’s our family.”

The memorial service for Donald Hames will take place 2 p.m. Saturday at the Burbank Tournament of Roses float site, 123 W. Olive Ave. A light reception will follow at the float site.

The family welcomes any help with appetizers or desserts following the service.

The memorial service location is near Olive Avenue and Flower Street, beneath the Olive Avenue bridge across from Borrman Steel Co., inside the Burbank Water and Power yard. The building is marked “BWP Auxiliary Warehouse.”

Parking is available at the Metrolink parking lot, under the Olive Avenue overpass at Olive Avenue and Flower Street.

In lieu of flowers, send funds to Norene Hames, 8109 Delco Ave., Winnetka, CA 91306-1808.

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