John William Burns obituary photo
 
In Memory of

John William Burns

August 3, 1935 - May 14, 2017

Obituary


John William Burns, known to most of the world as "Willie" Burns, was born in Galveston, Texas on August 3, 1935, to Eleanore and William John "Bill" Burns. He was their first and only child. Willie passed on to his heavenly father on Sunday, May 14, 2017, in Cypress, Texas.

Willie was always very proud of being a native son of Galveston and carried the BOI (born on the island) moniker throughout his life. He was schooled at Sacred Heart Cathedral School and Kirwin High School in Galveston, graduating in 1953. Before he...

John William Burns, known to most of the world as "Willie" Burns, was born in Galveston, Texas on August 3, 1935, to Eleanore and William John "Bill" Burns. He was their first and only child. Willie passed on to his heavenly father on Sunday, May 14, 2017, in Cypress, Texas.

Willie was always very proud of being a native son of Galveston and carried the BOI (born on the island) moniker throughout his life. He was schooled at Sacred Heart Cathedral School and Kirwin High School in Galveston, graduating in 1953. Before he attended his beloved University of Houston, Willie attended St. Edward's College in Austin, Texas. He then transferred to U of H in the fall of 1954, where he met and married his love Marcia Beach. While at the University of Houston, he was a charter member of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity, Director of Productions for Frontier Fiesta, and a leader in the business school. Willie graduated with a BBA in Management in May of 1958.

Willie was an exceptional Cougar supporter, and his love for the University of Houston continued throughout his life. He endowed scholarships for U of H football and a TKE Epsilon Omicron Chapter member each year. He served in many vital leadership roles in support of the Bauer College of Business and the university, including the Board Chairman of the TKE Epsilon Omicron Chapter, Director of the Cougar Cookers, and President of the Taxi Squad. Willie also received numerous awards in recognition of his unwavering dedication to the University of Houston. Although he did not play football at U of H, he was asked to be a member of the Cougar Letterman's Club. Willie was also honored with Lifetime Committeeman status, which honors past chairs that have greatly contributed to the University of Houston's Frontier Fiesta. In 2003-2004, he was selected as Delphian Man of the Year, for the Delphian Society of Houston, an organization that offers scholarships to students at the University of Houston. In 2008, he was recognized by the University of Houston with the Distinguished Service Award, one of the highest honors awarded to a University of Houston alumnus.

For those who knew Willie, nothing was more important to him than his faith and his family. Willie was a member of St. John Vianney Catholic Church where he served as a Eucharistic Minister. He was formerly a member of St. Cyril of Alexandria Catholic Church where he and his wife served in several leadership capacities and volunteered many hours. Willie was a perfect example of God's love in the way he cared for and helped his children, family and others. Willie served as a baseball coach at Voss West Little League, basketball coach at Walnut Bend Recreation Center and also coached softball and football. Willie also loved to have fun and was an active member of the Krewe of Gambrinus in Galveston, Texas for many years. He worked in the grocery industry for 40 years; always making sure those around him were well fed!

Willie was preceded in death by his wife of fifty-two years, Marcia Beach Burns. His dear friend and current wife of 6 ½ years, Gail Blattel Burns, survives him. He is also survived by his daughter Janice and husband Tim Terrell; son William (Bill) Burns and wife Patti; daughter Ruth and husband Victor Sherlock; son David Burns and wife Sandra; son Matthew Burns and wife Kathy. In addition, he is survived by 12 grandchildren: Tiffany Terrell and fiancé Colin Higgins, Tierney Fingerhut and husband Brandon, Taylor Terrell, John Burns and wife Brandi, Jackson Burns and fiancé Christina Odenborg, Sarah Burns, Abby Sherlock, Christopher Sherlock, Andrew Burns, Ryan Burns, and Allison Burns, and Michael Senizaiz. In addition, he leaves behind three great grandchildren, Braxton Burns and Ainsley Fingerhut, and a great granddaughter born on Tuesday, Breklynn Burns; brother-in-law Milton Beach and wife Elizabeth; sister-in-law Linda and husband Tom Chapman; cousins Bruce Burns of Irving and Peggy Green of Dickinson; nephews Scott Beach and Mark Beach, and niece, Joy Moynihan, their families and many beloved friends and relatives, as he never met a stranger!

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Marcia & J.W. "Willie" Burns Endowed Scholarship Fund at the University of Houston 3100 Cullen Blvd. Suite 2011 Houston, Texas 77204-6002 or the Willie Burns TKE Scholarship UHAA 3204 Cullen Blvd. Suite 201 Houston, Texas 77204 or the W. Burns Acorn Endowment at UH Libraries 4333 University Drive, Room 108 Houston, Texas 77204.

A visitation will be held on Friday, May 19, 2017, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. with a Rosary at 7:00 p.m. in the Memorial Oaks Funeral Home Chapel 13001 Katy Freeway Houston, Texas 77079.

A Funeral Mass will be held at St. John Vianney Catholic Church 625 Nottingham Oaks Trail Houston, Texas 77079 on Saturday, May 20, 2017, at 9:30 a.m. Rite of Committal will be held immediately following at Memorial Oaks Cemetery.

To honor Willie's legacy and his beloved Cougars, please wear red!