Dr. Billy R. Burns, beloved physician, husband, dad, granddad and friend, passed away suddenly on Friday evening, November 19th, at Christus St. Michael Hospital in Texarkana. Fulfilling his calling, Dr. Burns had just completed a full day of seeing his treasured patients and making his daily hospital rounds.
Dr. Burns was born on December 18, 1943, in Norman, Oklahoma and attended the University of Oklahoma and then graduated from Louisiana Tech University and Louisiana State University Medical School. He completed his pediatric internship and residency at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas. For the past twenty seven years, Dr. Burns has served as a much-loved pediatrician for countless patients and their families in the Four States area. He was Associate Professor, University of Arkansas Medical School and was Staff Pediatrician at both Wadley Regional Medical Center and Christus St. Michael Hospital.
During the 1960s, Dr. Burns served with the United States Army. He was an Airborne Ranger, Special Forces Training, better known as a Green Beret. He served in Vietnam with the 5th Special Forces Group where he received the Bronze Star for Valor, the Purple Heart and four other medals during this tour of duty. He then was assigned to the 7th Special Forces where he received the Distinguished Service Award as Operations Officer. It was here, in the jungles of Vietnam, where Dr. Burns discovered his calling in life: to care for and to help heal sick children. If given the choice, he said he would endure the suffering of war again because it led him to his passion for life and his love of pediatric medicine.
Dr. Burns was a master woodworker and furniture craftsman and enjoyed farming and gardening, being an OU fan, and his restored 39 Chevrolet. However, his favorite activities were being a husband and dad and granddad.
At the center of his life and that of his family was his devotion to his Christian faith and First Baptist Church of Texarkana. There he served as a deacon, a Childrens Sunday School Teacher, and a member of the Scouting Committee and Childrens Committee. As an instrument of the Great Physician, Dr. Burns demonstrated his faith not only in his service at his church, but in his daily walk in his practice and throughout our community. Loved by patients, peers, medical personnel, family and friends, Dr. Burns enriched the lives of all those knew him and who mourn his passing but celebrate his victory.
Dr. Burns leaves behind to cherish his legacy his loving wife of 34 years, Becky; his son, Clay Burns of Texarkana; his son and daughter-in-law, Kevin and Heather Burns of Birmingham, Alabama; and his daughter and son-in-law, Emily and Michael King of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The greatest blessing of this past year was the arrival of his granddaughter, Kendal Burns and his grandson, Langston King.
He is also survived by his mother, Jonnie Burns of Norman, Oklahoma; his brother, Jerry Dickinson of Oklahoma City; his sister, Shirley Brooks of Honolulu, Hawaii; and his sister, Teresa Burbank of Colleyville, Texas.
Services for Dr. Burns will be on Tuesday, November 23rd, at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church Texarkana, 3015 Moores Lane, with Larry Sims officiating. Visitation will follow the service in the Atrium at the church. Burial will be held at the Jefferson Memorial Cemetery in Trussville, Alabama, hometown of his wife, Becky. Local arrangements are under the direction of Texarkana Funeral Home, Texas.
The register book is available online at www.TexarkanaFuneralHome.com
Those wishing to memorialize Dr. Burns may direct contributions to the Dystona Medical Research Foundation Support Group, 216 Oakmont Circle, Birmingham, AL 35244.
That healing gift He lends to them who use it in His name.
John Greenleaf Whittier