Sad news arrived on Sunday. William Burns, the father of my longtime friend DeAnne (Burns) Kinsey, passed away. He had been battling cancer for some time, and had a huge setback when he contracted a dangerous staph infection, MRSA.
I’ve known DeAnne since we were 4 years old and my mother was our Sunday School teacher at
The Burns home became my second home during high school and college. I spent a lot of time there and have so many memories of DeAnne and I trying to get her dad to make popcorn for us or trying to trick her younger brother Jeff into getting refills for our glasses of Tab. We were two goofy girls making our way through our teen years one awkward moment at a time. As we did, both Bill and Mary Burns watched with knowing smiles, filled with both pride and joy.
Bill Burns was a sweetheart of a guy. He was a high school science teacher who could have been a stand-up comedian. I loved listening to his hilarious stories and jokes. I knew that every time I went to their home, I’d spend the whole afternoon or evening laughing and having fun. He had a way of telling a joke that not ony made you laugh, but also made you part of the joke. I’ll never forget the time when DeAnne and I were students at Purdue and we went to visit our friend Kelly at
In addition to the laughter, love filled the Burns household. DeAnne’s mom, Mary Burns, was – and still is – a stunningly beautiful and elegant woman who always made me feel not just welcome, but also wanted.
The Burns family’s Sunday Dinners were legendary – at least in my mind. Mary Burns was an amazing cook, and she’d prepare elaborate meals. Her dining room table was decked out with formal china and that meal was a big event followed by hours spent talking and laughing around the table. The time spent together was magical and during it all, Bill Burns held court. He’d beam with pride at the loved ones gathered around his table and when we were done eating, he’d encourage conversation that could go on for hours.
So today I say goodbye to Bill Burns, a man who had a bigger impact on my life than he probably ever knew. He showed me what a family really could be at a time when my own home life felt fragmented. Despite the tears I’ve shed thhis week I won’t remember him with sadness. I’ll remember him with laughter and love. I will miss him dearly.