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302-478-7100 Wilmington & Hockessin, DE

Edward Harmon Burns, III

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.

Funeral Services

A memorial service will be held at 1:30 pm on Sunday May 21, 2023 at the Chandler Funeral Home, 2506 Concord Pike, Wilmington where friends and family may visit from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. Interment will be private.


    Roger Weaver lit a candle and writes,
    Betsy, Ed and Tom, I am heart-broken at Eddie's passing. I can't remember the first time I met him, but it was well more than thirty-five years ago, flying OH-6s in the Maryland Army National Guard. Ed was always humorous, fun, proficient and 100% professional. I cherish the memories of our attendance at many Orioles-Red Sox games after we retired. I will always be inspired by his valiant battle with throat cancer, and truly admire his dedication to rowing. I pray you find comfort in the knowledge that he lived a full and vibrant life, and left many things the better for his being here. See you on Fiddler's Green, my Friend.
    05/12/2023 11:03 am
    Neenah Newell lit a candle and writes,
    May your many fond memories sustain you in this time of grief. I hold many fond, vibrant memories of Ed. We are here for you!
    05/12/2023 11:05 am
    Denise Beck lit a candle and writes,
    Betsy, I am so sorry for your loss. Thoughts and prayers for you and your family during this difficult time.
    05/12/2023 11:29 am
    Thelma Dooley writes,
    Dear Betsy and Family I am so sad about your loss of Ed! I know there haven't been many posts lately but had no idea there was a problem. I am so glad his grandchildren were able to know him. Love and condolences to all. Thelma
    05/12/2023 11:30 am
    Larry Willoughby writes,
    Betsy and family, I am brokenhearted at Ed‘s passing. He was more than a friend to me. I will cherish the time we spent together last year in the Smokies, and at other times. Due to circumstances beyond our control, I won’t be able to be there for his final farewell. I loved that man. Ed was my pilot when we flew Hueys in Vietnam together. Ed treated me with utmost respect and I will never forget him. Rest in peace, my friend!❤️❤️
    05/12/2023 11:44 am
    Daniel Chapman writes,
    I'm truly sorry for your loss. Ed (Fast Eddie as I fondly recall) was my senior, instructor, mentor, and friend. I first met Ed when I returned from flight school. Ed worked to teach me everything he knew about being a scout pilot and the OH6A. The things he taught me stayed with me my career and I did my best to pass everything Ed taught me onto the pilots I trained. Ed always said to enjoy life, have fun, and to go after everything with gusto. I will always remember his smile, excitement at flying, and zest for life. See you on Fiddler 's Green. Scouts out.
    05/12/2023 12:15 pm
    Karen Walsh lit a candle and writes,
    Ed is one of the first people we got to know at WRC. He was always so helpful, encouraging and full of life. Though he won't be physically with us, I believe Ed's adventurous spirit and passion for living life to the fullest will always be with all who were fortunate enough to know him. Many prayers that your family will find comfort in countless wonderful memories.
    05/12/2023 12:40 pm
    Joe Tuminello writes,
    Saying Ed was a great guy is an understatement. Saddened by the news of his passing, I am one of many who had the privilege of knowing Ed and calling him friend. I will always have fond boat house memories of his sense of humor and his patience and passion for teaching those new to the sport. I will indeed miss him, but will treasure the memories always. My most sincere condolences, Betsy.
    05/12/2023 12:58 pm
    Sara Cakebread lit a candle and writes,
    Betsy and family, I am so sad to read the news of Ed's passing. He was indeed one of a kind and one of the most interesting, open, giving and caring men I've met. His life stories brought smiles to so many faces and his love and devotion for his family and everything he did was above and beyond. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him, but heaven truly gained a most wonderful new angel. With great love... Sara C
    05/12/2023 01:12 pm
    Sara Cakebread lit a candle and writes,
    Dearest Betsy and all, I was so sad to read the news of Ed's passing. He was truly one of a kind, and a great gift to all who knew him. A handsome, swashbuckler of a fellow, his adventures were both many and legendary, and he always had a good story to share. His love of Betsy and his family, especially those precious grands, was something for anyone to aspire to. He will be greatly missed by all who benefited from his presence in their lives, and his memory will live on in our hearts and on our beautiful Christina. Hugs and love to all... Sara Cakebread
    05/12/2023 02:47 pm
    Paige M. lit a candle and writes,
    I feel so lucky to have known Ed through WRC, even for only 2 years. He was always so friendly and encouraging -- though that didn't stop him from telling me when I needed to fix something about my stroke! The boathouse won't be the same without him, though I'm pretty sure he'll still be around in spirit.
    05/12/2023 04:08 pm
    Teri Richmond writes,
    Such a kind and wonderful man. So sorry for your and our loss
    05/12/2023 09:09 pm
    Keith Harris lit a candle and writes,
    Betsy and Family, Meeting Ed, so many years ago when he came to the MD Nat’l Guard from Utah, was one of the best things that ever happened to me. He became and remained a true friend. Competitive fun at Orioles/Red Socks games and dinners at Sean Bolan’s where we could reminisce were highlights of my retirement. A devoted family man, excellent pilot and wonderful friend, I will miss him forever.
    05/13/2023 09:18 am
    Kathy Rees lit a candle and writes,
    I worked with Ed twice at DuPont (F&F around 30 years ago and again in IT right before he retired). Ed was one of my favorite bosses there and we all enjoyed when he shared his vivid memories/stories about his interests and travels and more! I am so saddened to learn of his passing and I send prayers and condolences to Betsy and family.
    05/13/2023 10:43 am
    Dave Lazzeri lit a candle and writes,
    Dear Betsy and family, We were so sorry to hear the sad news about Ed. He was such a positive man and I was blessed to work with him over many years at DuPont. I also looked forward to visits with him at our annual retiree luncheon...always so upbeat with a fun story or two, in spite of his physical challenges. Please know that you are all in our thoughts and prayers. May Ed rest in God's loving hands. Dave & Sue Lazzeri
    05/13/2023 11:58 am
    Michael Bair lit a candle and writes,
    I only met Ed once, not so long ago when he was awarded a Quilt Of Valor. A few of us spent the afternoon in Ed’s home swapping sea stories from days gone by. He was instantly likable, clearly intelligent, and well-deserving of the humble recognition he received that day. Flying was Ed’s passion. I have zero doubt that he’s flying now.
    05/13/2023 02:04 pm
    Larry Gardner writes,
    Jim and the Burns family, Sorry to hear of Ed's passing, he was a great guy. Ed and your family will be in my prayers. May he rest in peace.
    05/13/2023 03:17 pm
    Dennis McClure (Denny) lit a candle and writes,
    Dear Betsy and family, my deepest condolences on your loss. My memories of Ed were that of a gentleman, always respectful. Over the decades our work paths crossed many times the most memorable one was dinner at a restaurant on Lake Geneva back in April 2001. Ed maintained his positive attitude throughout his life regardless of challenges. We'll all miss his company. Ed's life was one to be celebrated so my prayers are with you to that end..... Denny
    05/13/2023 03:35 pm
    Roy Watson lit a candle and writes,
    With great love and remembrance from the Watson family/Top Tiger.
    05/13/2023 05:35 pm
    Ed Donnelly lit a candle and writes,
    Betsy and family, I’m sorry to hear the sad news about Ed. He really lived a life full of many talents. He always had so many good stories. We will miss seeing him at our annual retiree luncheon. May he rest in peace. Ed Donnelly
    05/13/2023 08:27 pm
    Joan Meyer Capriotti writes,
    Jim-- to you and your family I wish to send my deepest condolences on Ed's passing. I was taken back reading of his passing. I remember him and his smile and easy manner. I pray that all the time you shared with your brother will always stay with you. There were many great times I am sure. Prayers to you all.
    05/14/2023 01:51 pm
    Victor Norman lit a candle and writes,
    Betsy and family, I am deeply saddened to hear this news. Ed was a remarkable man and had a positive impact on everyone around him. I’ll never forget his riveting stories, his sense of humor and his frequent expressions of love for his family. Please accept my deepest and sincerest condolences for your loss. May you find solace and peace in the coming days. God Bless You, Ed.
    05/14/2023 03:14 pm
    Kathy & Ted Plush lit a candle and writes,
    It is with great sadness that we hear of Ed's passing. Surely he has been raised up on eagles wings to heaven. A great man and role model for us all.
    05/15/2023 07:39 am
    Jim Mercante writes,
    My condolences to Ed's family and to his brother Jim. I very much enjoyed our golf outings at Moccasin Run.
    05/15/2023 09:18 am
    Jerry Krometis lit a candle and writes,
    Please accept my deepest condolences in Ed's passing. It was indeed very sad to hear of his passing but his battle is now over and I believe Ed is now in a better place. He was a true patriot and will be missed by many including his Maryland Army National Guard family. Ed was a brother to many of us. May God's love, comfort, and peace be upon you and your entire family during this difficult time and always. Sincerely, Jerry Krometis
    05/15/2023 10:17 am
    Wendy Alexander lit a candle and writes,
    Dear Burns family, I want to offer my sincere condolences for your loss. I know that he will be greatly missed, but I also know that the world is a much better place because of Edward Burns. It’s times like this where I try to always remember that our loved ones live on in our hearts and that the part of him that is you, lives on. I see so much of him in his son, Tom … What an amazing son he and his wife raised and what a victorious life Mr. Burns led! I pray that your memories and your love for each other will be a comfort during this difficult time. You’re in my prayers. Sending my love.
    05/15/2023 03:05 pm
    Carlos Ferreiro lit a candle and writes,
    Betsy, Did not have the opportunity to meet Ed, but I remember your smiling face telling his and yours adventures. Thinking of you and family... Carlos
    05/16/2023 04:59 am
    Peg Trimble writes,
    You picked the perfect picture of Ed to post! It's how I will always remember him - smiling, loving life even when it was difficult, open to a new adventure to have. I sent Ed an email just now. Hope you can read it.
    05/16/2023 02:50 pm
    Marie Dugan lit a candle and writes,
    Dear Betsy, I am sending love and prayers to you today. I will be there Sunday. I have such happy memories of you and Ed and the early days when Eddie and Tommy were with us at Wilmington Montessori School. You were both so helpful as the school began to grow. Those were the happiest times for me. It has been great joy since then to stay in touch with you every ear. I think of Ed as a wonderful person who fully embraced life and was loved by everyone who knew him. He was an inspiration to me, for sure. Love, Marie
    05/17/2023 11:40 am
    Dave Hilyard lit a candle and writes,
    As a golfing buddy to Ed and a retired Marine I can not tell you the fun we had over to last 6 or 7 years ribbing each other over golf and telling war stories. I will miss our beer drinking after a game and will miss Ed in untold ways. Fair Winds and Following Seas my brother. Rest peacefully. Semper Fi.
    05/17/2023 05:24 pm
    Josh Kearney lit a candle and writes,
    Mr. Ed, I will miss seeing you. Thank you for all your kindness and encouragement throughout all the years.
    05/17/2023 10:56 pm
    Hardy Kaffenberger writes,
    Dear Betsy, My sincere condolences. Ed freely gave much time to the Wilmington Rowing Center. He will leave a large void and will be sorely missed.
    05/19/2023 09:45 am
    Don & Sandy Verdiani lit a candle and writes,
    Ed was a special kind of person, so full of enthusiasm, ready for whatever life brought. He was a great rowing buddy and helped Sandy and I feel welcome at the rowing club. He will be missed.
    05/19/2023 12:57 pm
    Nigel & Karen Wilkinson writes,
    Our sincere condolences Betsy. I know how much Ed loved his family and how much he will be missed, he was such a friend and colleague to me for many years. Some of my all time fondest memories were whilst working together with him in Dupont. My son still talks about the trip Ed and the boys joined my son and I to the Tour de France and flew over the peleton in a helicopter ! Ed was not the pilot on this occasion, but I felt safe in the knowledge he could take over ! God bless you Ed, and thank you for making such an impact on my life. You can be sure Betsy we will be celebrating his life with a toast over here in Europe in his memory.
    05/21/2023 08:24 am
    Maggie Ann Chevrier lit a candle and writes,
    Dear Betsy, Tom and Ed, I was so sorry to hear about Ed. My sincere condolences to all of you. He was certainly a good man and father. My most vivid memory is of the helicopter at the school. It was great to see you and the boys, Tommy and Eddy. It is obvious that you and Ed did it right. Such handsome, smart men they have grown into. Wonderful to hear that you have three grandchildren. They are such blessings. Yay Eddy. My love to you all. Take care, Maggie Ann
    05/21/2023 01:34 pm
    Maggie Ann Chevrier writes,
    Dear Betsy, Tom And Ed. I was so sorry to hear about Ed. My sincere condolences to all of you. He was certainly a good man and father. My most vivid memory is of the helicopter at the school. It was great to see you and the boys, Tommy and Eddy. It is obvious that you and Ed did it right. Such handsome, smart men they have grown into. Wonderful to hear that you have three grandchildren. They are such blessings. Yay Eddy. My love to you all. Take care, Maggie Ann
    05/21/2023 09:04 pm
    Dave Metzger writes,
    Sandy and I were saddened to hear about Ed’s passing. I spent enjoyable years working (and many times laughing) with him in the Finishes business. I recall many wonderful stories we shared - especially the time he made an emergency landing in the Concord Mall parking lot! Our prayers are with your family. We know Ed is now flying higher in the loving arms of our Lord. Peace and blessings to you - Dave & Sandy
    05/24/2023 08:57 am
    Steve Bonine lit a candle and writes,
    Betsy & family, I have just learned of your loss. Knowing you, and Ed, when I was in Delaware was a delight. He was a true mentor to me in my early years with DuPont Performance Coating: Smart, helpful, a gentleman and a character. What a combination. I know his passing leaves a hole in your family, but know that he was a positive influence on so many people. Me included. Best wishes, Steve
    05/24/2023 01:03 pm
    Brent Burdge lit a candle and writes,
    Dear Elizabeth, Tom & Ed, our condolences and prayers go out to you and the extended family. I worked with and knew Ed for many years. I still remember reaching out for homebuyers advice when we moved to Wilmington in 1990. We bought the Northminster house from your family -where we live to this day. I enjoyed working with Ed and swapping memories at the Finishes Retiree luncheons in later years. He was a good man.
    05/25/2023 12:41 am
    Donna Granger writes,
    Betsy, I received your message by mail yesterday and felt great sadness to learn of Ed's passing. I tried to find your phone number to call you but wasn't successful. Please know that you and yours are in my thoughts and prayers - with sincerest sympathy - Fondly, Donna
    06/15/2023 11:04 am
    thomas ward writes,
    06/23/2023 07:00 pm

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