Dr. William (Bill) Burns, 81, passed away peacefully at his home in Hattiesburg, on October 10, 2012 following an extended battle with heart and pulmonary issues. Visitation will be Saturday, October 13, 2012, at Moore Funeral Chapel in Hattiesburg from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m., with services immediately following. Burial will be in Canton Cemetery.
Born February 19, 1931, William (Bill) was preceded in death by his parents, Arthur A. Burns and Sarah Allen Burns. Both parents were teachers and taught for many years in the public schools of Mississippi. Bill had two siblings; a sister, Ruth Burns Fryer and a brother, Brig. Gen. Arthur Burns, Sr. (USAF), both siblings also preceded him in death.
Bill was a Christian and an active member of University Baptist Church (UBC) in Hattiesburg. He found much comfort, peace, and strength in his faith and in his fellowship with UBC members. For almost 30 years Bill shared in the Church’s radio ministry by transmitting UBC Sunday morning services to the local radio outlets.
Bill Burns was introduced to the world of technology and electronics in the United States Air Force. He completed some 1500 hours of electronics training at Keesler AFB and subsequently held Air Force assignments as an electronics technician (radar and radio), then later, as an electronic surveillance operator on RB-50 type aircraft. Overseas assignments included Japan, Korea, and the Islands of the Japan Sea.
After his Air Force service he returned to The University of Southern Mississippi to pursue the baccalaureate degree, graduating in 1959. His master’s and doctoral degrees would follow in 1965 and 1975, concurrent with and sometimes in between teaching assignments.
He was employed by the Hinds County Public Schools and taught Math, Science and Industrial Arts from 1959 through 1966. While teaching in Hinds County, he spent his summers working as a design draftsman for various consulting engineering firms in Jackson, Mississippi. He then joined Hinds Community College in 1967 to head the Drafting and Design Department. He taught engineering drawing, electronics and electronics drafting while on the Hinds staff.
Dr. Burns joined the University of Southern Mississippi faculty in the fall of 1968 as an instructor of electronics and industrial technology. From 1975 until his retirement in 1997, Dr. Burns served as Chair, and subsequently “Chair Emeritus” of USM’s Department of Technology Education.
After retirement, Bill and wife Frances continued to make their home in Hattiesburg. Church and University sponsored programs would continue to provide opportunities for service and personal fulfillment. For a number of years Bill engaged himself in volunteer work with a near-by veteran’s home. His hobbies included amateur radio (licensed since 1966), music, computer applications, genealogical research, photography and travel.
Dr. Burns is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Frances Jones Burns, of Hattiesburg; three nephews, Arthur Allen Burns, Jr. (Carolyn) of Portland, Oregon, Brian Burns of Jackson and Bill Fryer (Liz) of Vicksburg; two great-nephews and one great-niece.
The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to an endowed scholarship at USM for juniors and seniors majoring in Instructional Education Technology in honor of Dr. William B. Burns. Memorials should be sent to: The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation, 118 College Drive #5210, Hattiesburg, Mississippi 39406. Please note that the gift is made in memory of Dr. William B. Burns.