Barry Eugene Burns was born July 25, 1942 in Charlotte and passed away December 12, 2019 in Durham. He was preceded in death earlier this year by his wife of 51 years, Phyllis Hope Harris Burns, and several years ago by his parents Ethel and Lemuel Burns and his brother Robert Burns. Barry leaves behind three children, Shane (Bonnie) Burns, Josh (Cindie) Burns, and August Burns (Denise Ingram), grandchildren Jake and Harris, all of Durham, sisters Ginny (Everette) Greene of Mebane and Martha Grumette of Moncure, Robert’s wife, Dorasue Burns Christian of Moncure, and many loved aunts, uncles, nieces, and cousins.
In his teen years, Barry and Robert moved from Charlotte to live with MaMa, their recently widowed grandmother, on the old home place near Rocky River. Except for a stint in Raleigh to earn a Bachelor’s degree from NC State, Barry lived over 60 years in Chatham County at the home place. Chatham County was more than home.
A 1960 graduate of Pittsboro High School, Barry worked in the Chatham County school system for decades. While teaching math for almost 20 years at Chatham Central, Barry earned a Master’s degree from North Carolina A&T and became principal at Chatham Central and Northwood as well as assistant principal at Chatham Middle School. A people person, Barry thrived in the relationships formed with generations of students, teachers, and administrators. In the late 1990s, those connections and working with his closest friend, Becky Crabtree lead to a periodic reunion of all graduating classes of Pittsboro High School, 1923-1970. Barry enjoyed working with dozens of alumni to support these reunions, events where hundreds of graduates and their families have gathered for almost 20 years.
In addition to being an educator, Barry started selling life insurance years ago which led him to become a chartered financial consultant. His insurance business was not just a job; he loved the people he met and advising them with their financial needs whether it was for life insurance, long term care or retirement planning. Barry also made sure that his clients and friends were taken care of by joining in partnership with Janet Davis, of Siler City five years ago.
Barry’s passions included baseball, softball, bridge, the Wolfpack, and the Yankees. A mountain home for retreats with family and bridge weekends, cookouts, homemade peach ice cream, Burns family reunions, grilling hot dogs for that special lunch; these and much more were Barry’s ways of having fun and finding fellowship.
Visitation will be held at Donaldson Funeral Home, Pittsboro, NC, on Wednesday, December 18th 6-8:00pm. A memorial service and celebration of life will be held at Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center on Thursday, December 19th at 11am.
Memorial gifts can be made to Chatham Animal Rescue, PO Box 610, Pittsboro, NC 27312 chathamanimalrescue.org/donate or Chatham County Partnership for Children, PO Box 637, Pittsboro, NC 27312 chathamkids.org/get-involved/donate.
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