Oliver Wendell (Sonny) Burns, Jr., 71, of Manchester, died Thursday, November 1, 2012 in Ellerslie, GA. Memorial services will be 2:00 pm, Sunday, November 4, 2012 at Manchester First United Methodist Church with Rev. Stephen Soulen officiating. Private family interment will be Monday, November 5, 2012 at Ft. Mitchell National Cemetery. Visitation will be 6 to 8 pm, Saturday at the funeral home.
Mr. Burns was born February 5, 1941 in Newnan, GA, the son of Oliver Wendell Burns, Sr. and Lillie Florence McCutchen Burns. He graduated from R. E. Lee High School in Thomaston and the University of Georgia where he received his degree in Zoology and was a member of Chi Phi Fraternity. After graduating from Georgia, he entered the United States Air Force as an officer and served seven years during the Vietnam War. He left the Air Force ranking Captain and returned to UGA, earning his Master’s Degree in Public Administration. Mr. Burns then moved to Manchester and worked in Management at Callaway Mills. In 1980, he began his teaching career in Meriwether County Schools and additionally taught classes at Columbus State University, retiring in 2004. Throughout his life, he was committed to serving others and his community. As his sons were growing up, he volunteered as a Cub Scout Master, PTA president, Dixie Youth Baseball president, and coached the Woodbury High School baseball team. Upon his retirement from teaching he dedicated more of his time to others. He was an active member of Manchester First United Methodist Church where he participated on numerous boards and committees, taught Sunday School and served as president of United Methodist Men. He was a member of American Legion Post 88 and served as commander numerous terms. He was a member of the Manchester Lions Club and was the recipient of its Melvin Jones Fellow Award for Service and the Tom Bingham Fellow Award which recognizes the highest achievement in support of the work of the Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation. In 1996 Mr. Burns had a special opportunity to carry the Olympic Torch as it travelled through Manchester. Mr. Burns was incredibly dedicated to his family – especially his wife, sons and grandchildren. He had a passion for gardening as many know by visiting his home and he never lost the desire to learn.
Mr. Burns was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Benjamin McCutchen Burns. Survivors include his wife, Joan Burns of Manchester; his sons, Oliver Burns, III and his wife, Karel of Marietta, Patrick Burns and his wife, Nicole of Greer, SC; five grandchildren, Rachel Burns, Oliver (Owen) Burns, Zachary Burns, Harry Burns and Charlie Burns; one sister, Kathy Burns of Thomaston and one brother, Gregory Burns of Huntsville, AL.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Mr. Burns may be made to Manchester First United Methodist Church.
Cox Funeral Home, Manchester in charge of arrangements. Please sign the online register atwww.coxfh.com.