Burns, Mr. William F., Jr., a resident of Lanett, AL, died Saturday January 16, 2021 at his residence.
Graveside Services are scheduled for Saturday, January 23, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. (EST) at Handy Memorial Cemetery, LaFayette, AL with Rev. Terry L. Magby officiating. Davis Memorial Mortuary of Valley directing.
Public Viewing is scheduled for Friday, January 22, 2021 from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. (EST) at Davis Memorial Mortuary Chapel.
William Freeman Burns, Jr., the son of William F. Burns, Sr. and Susie Williams Burns, was born on July 26, 1943 in Greensboro, Alabama. He grew up in Valley, Alabama and attended Rehobeth High School, where his father was principal and his mother was an English teacher. He was a bright student and was active in sports, especially football and basketball. He was baptized into the congregation of Haven United Methodist Church in Alexander City, Alabama, and was also a faithful attendee at Hall Memorial CME Church in Valley, where he participated in the choir and in the Christian Youth Fellowship. Later in life, he joined New Mt. Sellers Baptist Church in LaFayette, Alabama.
After graduating from Rehobeth High School in 1960, William attended Tuskegee University and majored in history. He completed his bachelor’s degree in history at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. While at Stillman, he was active in campus affairs and became a proud and loyal member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity in 1964.
He also served his country for four years in the United States Navy and was honorably discharged as a Vietnam-era veteran.
After his military service ended, William lived and worked in San Diego, California, holding management positions at Thrifty Drug Company and Allstate Insurance Company. After some time in San Diego, William returned to the Valley area, where he was employed as a history teacher at Valley High School. He was a popular teacher who was dedicated to helping his students reach their highest potential. He was also employed for a number of years at West Point Pepperell, Inc., retiring in 2005.
William loved his family deeply and cherished his friends. He was a kind, caring, outgoing person with a charismatic personality. People were drawn to him because of his unfailing affability, warmth, and energy, and he was able to maintain friendships and bonds over many decades—from high school, college, military service, work, and other facets of his life.
He was an avid reader and a great conversationalist, able to discuss almost any topic with confidence and intelligence, including history, politics, education, music, and sports. He could relate to people from different backgrounds, cultures, and races and find common ground with them all. He tried to see the good in everyone, a quality he inherited from his mother. And he was fond of quoting adages, aphorisms, and other brief statements of wisdom and common sense, a trait passed on by his father. William loved life and lived it joyfully and richly, and he will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved him.
He was preceded in death by his father and mother, W. F. Burns, Sr. and Susie Williams Burns, and his brother, Roland Burns. William F. Burns, Jr. departed this life on Saturday, January 16, 2021 at his residence.
He is survived by: his wife, Doris Whitlow Burns of Lanett, AL; his daughter, Busara Burns Pitts of St. Petersburg, FL; his two sons, Bakari Burns and Bitar Burns both of Orlando, FL; four stepchildren, Kenneth Whitlow, Sr., Nicholas Whitlow, Orenthal Whitlow, and Shawanda Whitlow; his sister, Loretta Burns of Montgomery, AL; five grandchildren, Jelani Pitts, Neema Pitts, Addison Burns, Adira Burns, and Qasim Burns; a special niece, Shuntele Burns of Montgomery, AL; special friends, Clifford Burems of Los Angeles, CA, and Billy Sanders of Charlotte, NC; and many other relatives and friends.
Davis Memorial Mortuary of Valley, AL is directing.