Thomas Edward Burns

February 8, 1953 ~ January 2, 2021 (age 67)


On Saturday, January 2nd, 2020, Thomas Edward Burns, loving husband and father/grandfather, passed away at the age of 67. 

Tom was born February 8th, 1953, in Springfield, MA to James and Ruth Katherine Burns and grew up in Jacksonville, FL, before moving to Sanford, NC at age 11. He worked as an independent contractor and ran his painting and industrial contracting business for almost 30 years in the Triangle area. On May 23, 1976, he married the love of his life, Pamela Perry Burns, and together they raised two sons, Adam and Mark.

Tom was an avid paleontologist with a love for fossil hunting throughout his life and was both a member and President of the NC Fossil Club. He led country-wide fossil collecting trips and helped spark the revival of paleontological interest in NC in the 1980s, and many of Tom and Pam’s discoveries have been donated and displayed at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences and the Smithsonian. He also had a passion for learning and discovery: from Heinlein to Gibbon, the Bible to the Quran, and philosophy to poetry, Tom searched for knowledge and understanding of the world around him and loved sharing it with everyone he could. As a Scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America, he led field trips and interactive studies that fueled the imaginations and passions of several children, especially his sons.

Since childhood and later into his life, Tom was especially enthusiastic about coin collecting, particularly rare U.S. mints and ancient Roman coins, and would frequently attend local coin shows looking for those special finds. His greatest joy, however, came from spending quality time with his grandchildren and teaching them all about fossils and history.

Tom is preceded in death by his father and mother, James and Ruth Katherine, and his brother Barry.

 He is survived by his wife Pamela, his sons Adam (and fiancé Heather) and Mark (and wife Alicia), his grandchildren Eva, Ian, Ellie and Henry, his brother David, his stepmother Bonnie Gail, and several cousins, nieces and nephews.

A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, January 6th, 2021 at Jones Chapel United Methodist Church at 1:30 p.m.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations may be sent to Bridges-Cameron Funeral Home at 600 Main St, Sanford, NC 27332.


Graveside Service
January 6, 2021

1:30 PM
Jones Chapel United Methodist Church Cemetery
89 Jones Chapel Road
Sanford, NC 27330

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