Obituary for Major Harry Burns
Harry Warren Burns, formerly of Pasadena, passed away on August 6th. He was born to the late James and Mary Burns (Stone) on November 21, 1925, in Shreveport, LA.
Harry grew up in East Texas and graduated from Honey Island High School. Harry had a lifelong love for flying. He served during World War II as a tail gunner on a B-17 in the 384th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force. Harry attended the University of Texas, prior to enlisting in the United Sates Air Force for pilot training. An elementary accounting class at the University of Texas served him well in his later years. While stationed in San Antonio, Harry became an instructor pilot. Some of his flight students were nabbed for speeding to Austin and ended up in a traffic safety class. They found the instructor very entertaining and encouraged Harry to attend a class, where he met Sergeant Bert Lay – his future father-in-law. Bert took a liking to Harry and introduced him to his daughter Audrey. It was love at first sight and Harry and Audrey were married in Austin, TX in 1953. They were a devoted couple for over sixty years until Audrey’s passing in 2014.
As an Air Force family, Harry and Audrey lived at air bases around the country before settling in Pasadena. Harry was a B-29 instructor pilot at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio (where Richard and Deborah were born). He flew the USAF Thunderbird’s C-119 and C-123 support aircraft while stationed at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, NV (where Raymond was born). While stationed at Hickham Air Force Base in Hawaii, he flew C-54s throughout the Pacific region. At Brookley Air Force Base in Mobile, AL, Harry served as an operations officer and continued to fly C-54s. Harry retired from the USAF in 1966 as a Major and Command Pilot. Harry moved to Pasadena to join FlightSafety where he met Albert Bel Fay. He went on to work for Albert Fay as a pilot and an office manager (where the accounting course came in handy). With Albert Fay, he was involved in helping to build the Republican Party in Texas. During this time he flew future President George H.W. Bush and Senator John Tower for their campaigns in Texas. He later worked for H. Ben Taub as an office manager and for J.P. Bryan helping him to start Torch Energy.
Harry’s friends were always kept well informed of the accomplishments of his children and grandchildren. He loved his grandchildren and spent a lot of time with them. Harry enjoyed hunting and fishing. He was an avid golfer and despite macular degeneration was out striking golf balls just weeks prior to his passing.
Harry is survived by his three children: Richard H. Burns and his wife Marietta, of Hingham, MA; his daughter Dr. Deborah J. Burns of Houston, TX; and Raymond C. Burns and his wife Judy, of Pearland, TX and five grandchildren: Robert Burns; Christopher Burns; Larry Burns; Mary Burns and Nicholas Burns. He is also survived by his sister-in-law Jane L. Farmer, of Moore, OK, a dear cousin Gwen Roquet, of Houston, TX and two nieces – Nadine Branch of Oklahoma City, OK and Cheryl Farmer of Austin, TX. He was predeceased by his brother James E. Burns formerly of Fort Worth, TX and his grandson Stephen Burns.
Private services will be held at Houston National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to the American Heart Association or the United Service Organizations.