Edward Harmon Burns, III , age 76, of Kennett Square, PA., passed away on Wednesday, May 10, 2023 in Christiana Hospital.
Some lives cannot be completely captured by the written word. Ed Burns, whose loss is grieved by so many, lived such a life. As a raconteur, he could fill the room with his stories. He lived a life that was captured in the two biographies he wrote memorializing them.
Ed was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and raised in West Springfield, Massachusetts where he developed a lifelong devotion to its culture and, of course, the Red Sox. His character was further defined through his experience as a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam conflict as well as almost 30 years in the National Guard as a pilot, scout and instructor. He served his country valiantly and continued his passion for flight and his country for most of his life. His commitment and compassion for those with whom he served was exemplified by his lifelong connections to his crew and his units. This sense of loyalty and devotion to others endeared him to those who worked, played, and socialized with him.
Ed approached anything he tried with passion, enthusiasm, and dedication. This list includes his dream of rowing in Boston’s Head of the Charles regatta, driving race cars at multiple tracks, pursuing his love of the game of golf (very often with his brother Jim), supporting the Wilmington Rowing Center, actively participating in the annual Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the West Springfield Youth Sports Association fundraising golf tournament, becoming an expert on solar power, and much more. His professional life was defined by his engineering degree from U Mass and his many roles as a senior engineer at the DuPont Company.
His life was full of adventure and risk but he would tell anyone who asked that his life was fulfilled the day he met Betsy Rowland, his bride of 38 years and lifelong companion, partner, and reliable compass whenever he needed a course correction. His family, sons Ed and Tom, became part of his and Betsy’s journey that took them across the Atlantic to live and learn in Switzerland and explore the European continent. Their love of travel sustained them through the years with adventures that took them to exotic and romantic venues around the world.
Their family expanded over the years with the addition of their daughter-in-law Lindsay and three grandchildren who added to their joy and commitment to family. Nothing exhibited the commitment more than Ed’s frequent trips to New England to visit his siblings and their families. Ed’s legacy of family, friendship, and compassion will transcend this sad time. His warmth, spirit of adventure, and commitment to his country will endure through all those fortunate enough to have been part of his journey.
Ed’s survivors include his wife, Elizabeth Rowland, his sons, Edward and Thomas, his daughter-in-law Lindsay Fay (Fleming) Burns, his sisters, Katherine (Burns) Dupuis, Lexine (Burns) Detz and Roberta (Burns) MacNaughton, his brother, James Burns, his grandchildren, Elyza, Sylvia and Levi, and his many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, Edward and Christine (Lancaster) Burns and his sister, Georgia (Burns) Maloni.
In lieu of flowers, please consider contributions to the Wilmington Rowing Center, PO Box 7587, Wilmington, DE 19803 or the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, KS 66675-8516.
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