Robert Lee Burns
May 09, 1915 to September 05,
Felma Lozano Burns
July 12, 1918 to January 03,
In Loving Memory Of The
Angels That Led My Way
Robert Lee Burns
May 09, 1915 to September 05, 2001
On May 09, 1915, a quiet Sunday morning, into this
world a handsome blue eyed baby boy blessed the home
of James Monroe Burns and Ellie Jones Burns of
Huntington, Texas. This precious child, Robert Lee
Burns, was not only a blessing to this family but also a
life long companion to his one true love Felma Burns and
spirit filled father to his sons Jim and Joe, that he
cherished so much.
In order to understand who my father was, one must look
into the family that nurtured him and taught him the
valued truths he followed and cherished throughout his
life. His young life, to the age of nine, was filled with the
love and attention of his devoted mother, Ellie. She was,
during this time, the major influence on his life. Her
untimely death when he was nine made an impact on him
one could see many years after her death.
Growing up in the 1920's one can visualize him walking
through the east Texas woods with a 22 rifle in one hand
and a fishing pole in the other. These formative years in
his young life gave him a profound respect for nature and
the beauty of God's creation. He has, on many occasions,
blessed us with stories of his ventures. I think it was
during these times that he realized the farther to a fishing
hole the larger the fish would become on his way home.
Although he would not lie, he would however make it
clear he would tell you the truth three or four ways
before he would lie to you.
His education was important, since his father was a
teacher. He excelled in his studies and ventured farther
and farther from the small town atmosphere of
Huntington, Texas. He graduated at Lufkin High school
where he lettered each year in football.
It was during his mid 20's his father, whom he respected
and trusted so, introduced him to a certain body of
principles and rules of morals, duties and conduct, taught
in The Masonic Fraternity. Robert Lee Burns'
grandfather, Cicero Benjamin Burns as well as father,
James Monroe Burns were both Past Masters of the
Homer Masonic Lodge number 254 in Huntington,
Texas. Robert Lee Burns served as a mason for over 61
years in that lodge in Huntington.
It was at a Halloween dance in Lufkin, Texas during this
part of his life he met the only woman he ever loved,
Felma Burns. This bond lasted both of their lives, over
60 years. Not even a war could separate these two. Both
of them went to Catalina Island, together when dad
entered the United States Merchant Marines. This time in
his life matured him to the realities of life.
War could have changed him, but it was his faith and the
help and support Felma gave that got him through.
It was during the war he learned a trade that supported
our family for over 45 years. The work of welding and
burning became an art with him. He was in fact one of
the best at what he did. Even during hard times in the
economy he always had a job. One of his old time work
buddies commented, "Robert Burns can cut threads on a
re-enforcing rod and screw a nut on it." There never was
anyone in the Iron Workers Union Local #84 in Houston
that did not love and respect him during the more than 45
years he help build virtually every building that was built
in downtown Houston in this time. He said many times,
in a comical gesture, I believe Houston would crumble if
I had all my welds back. He was one of a kind.
Nothing was more important to him than his family. I
believe it was the loss of their first born twins in the late
40's that made mom and dad so protective of Jim and I. I
remember the stories dad would tell about mom tying
Jim and I to the bottom of the boat to keep us from
falling out. One story was the most comical to me.
While fishing at the Neches river, they put Jim and I in
this make shift pen with chicken wire so we could not
wander off while they fished. Mom would constantly
check on us and during one such investigation she
screamed that I was missing. Dad came running and
both of them began a search. As it turned out I had
crawled into a armadillo hole inside the pen.
Daddy was so mad when he pulled me out of the hole.
One of the most precious traits of Robert Burns was his
sense of humor. I am sure most of us have been on the
wrong end of his teasing. He loved to smile and
nothing made him happier than to make someone laugh.
It was during the hardships that I witnessed the character
of my father. There was no time he did not put his God
first and no time did his faith falter. He held my mother
together for the many years of her pains caused by the
accident in 1955. He was the rock that kept our family
solid. He put Jim and I through school and stood by us
in good as well as bad times. He sacrificed himself for
the betterment of his family. He toiled and labored in the
hot sun for 45 years to see his sons had what he thought
was a better life. He refused to allow Jim or I to consider
anything but a college education and a craft that would
allow for a better life than he could give. He worried so
much whether he was able to provide what it would take
to accomplish this.
It was so hard for him when he noticed his memory was
failing. He shed many tears when he shared his thoughts
about whether he was a good father and husband. He
spent so many years thinking about others and not
himself. To me, there is no character more godly than
one that sacrifices himself for his family and others.
Before his memory failed he did realize that he was a
success and his sons would be there for him and would
not let him down. Even though the last years were a
struggle for him he was happy and always had that
special Bob Burns smile.
I honor my father today as I honored my mother when
she passed. I consider myself blessed for the time I have
had with both my mother and father. All who knew my
dad were blessed in a special way. Robert Lee Burns had
a special God given blessing that could not be ignored,
but treasured; a talent to make people smile and a smile
that warmed ones heart. My dad knew the lesson King
Solomon wrote about when he said:
"Remember your Creator while you are still young, before those dismal
days and years come when you will say, 'I don't enjoy life'. That is
when the light of the sun, the moon and the stars will grow dim for you,
and the rain clouds will never pass away. Then your arms, that have
protected you, will tremble, and your legs, now strong, will grow
weak. Your teeth will be too few to chew your food, and your eyes too
dim to see clearly. Your ears will be deaf to the noise of the street.
You will barely be able to hear the mill as it grinds or the music as it
plays, but even the song of a bird will wake you from sleep. You will
be afraid of high places, and walking will be dangerous. Your hair will
turn white; you will hardly be able to drag yourself along, and all desire
will be gone. We are going to our final resting place, and then there
will be mourning in the streets. The silver chain will snap, and the
golden lamp will fall and break; the rope at the well will break, and the
water jar will be shattered. Our bodies will return to the dust of the
earth, and the breath of life will go back to God, who gave it to us.
After all this, there is only one thing to say: Have reverence for God,
and obey his commands, because this is all that man was created for."
May The Lord Jesus Christ Bless us all as we have been
blessed by Robert and Felma Burns. I pray that their
souls rest in peace and that they today be with our Lord
in paradise... Amen
Sept 8, 2001
Felma Lozano Burns
July 12, 1918 to January 03, 2001
On Friday, July 12, 1918, from a descendant of Spain,
Andrew Lozano and a young humble Indian girl, Vicenta
Manchaca, an Angel was born whose spirit still permeates
not only our lives, but these very walls of this church
which she was a member.
Born under a wagon in this very community, Felicita
Lozano became not only a beautiful daughter, a loving
devoted wife, but also the most loving and cherished
mother I could have been blessed with. In the young
years of her life, walking these very roads to school,
writing her name in the bluff banks of this very road
down to the bridge at Moral Creek, Felicita became
known by the ones that loved her and her friends as
She ventured farther and farther from these humble
surroundings, graduated high in her class at Douglas
High School in or around 1937. She had fond memories
of a small community just outside of Douglas. This
community, for whatever reason, made a lasting
impression on her. My entire life she said she had
graduated SeedtickUniversity in 1937.
A short time after this she met a young man from
Huntington, Texas, at a streetdance on Halloween night
in Lufkin. This young gentleman, a mason, a fiddle and
guitar player, would forever change her life. On August
9, 1941, she married the only man she ever loved, Robert
Lee Burns and became Felma Burns.
The war could not keep them apart. She followed my
dad to Catalina Island and stood beside him in loving
support while he served in The United States Merchant
Marines. Her dedication, love and support solidified
their union during these troubled times. After the war
she carried what she thought was the most cherished and
blessed miracle a mother could pray for, twins; a boy and
a girl for nine months she felt living inside her. This
miracle, this blessing would be the first in many lessons
of one's faith and endurance in this life, she had to
endure. No sooner than they were born an Angel took
them away to serve The Lord that my mother loved so
much. She did not even get to see these precious babies.
This, for many people, would not only destroy their life
but end a faith in The Lord that she served.
Her prayers not slowed, her faith not vanquished, for on
the 14th day of November, 1951, a precious baby was
born who would become a loving spirit filled son, the
most precious brother I could have wished for, a quiet
gentle Masonic Brother and the best doctor Humble,
Texas will ever know, Robert James Burns. Felma Burns
wrapped her whole world around this baby.
With this confirmation of her faith, she prayed that this
miracle of life be repeated. One year and eight days
later, on November 22, 1952, that miracle of life was
repeated. From that day forward she centered her life
around raising my brother and myself to be the best we
could be in whatever we did.
In 1955, an auto accident, that broke over 20 bones in
her body, gave her a whiplash neck and created in her the
many pains she suffered, over 45 years. This test of
endurance purified her faith in God and created in her a
quality I have seen in very few. Through the many years,
dealing with her pain, she still supported her two sons in
baseball, football and every activity that growing boys
belong. From 1966 to 1971 she walked, with pain and
all, two miles to virtually every baseball game my
brother and I played at MacArthur High School. No
matter how many people were in the crowd, I could tell
my mother was there with that patented, Whoopee!
Felma Burns was a survivor. Without her strength,
prayers, faith and endurance I, nor my brother, would be
here to honor her in this humble and respectful manor.
During the last five years of my mothers life, she became
totally dependent on my brother and myself. Her
independence was changed to dependence and her
strength became weakness. She reveled in the company
of her sons, her husband and grandchildren. For the last
two years of her life, she hopefully anticipated the joyful
possibility of holding a newborn baby, of my blood, in
her arms. In January 2000, that hope was extinguished
when the last specialist said this could not happen, due to
an injury earlier in my life. She said, as many times in
my life, "Joe, you got to believe in miracles!"
I know she prayed for this miracle. For the last nine
months she has held on to life tighter than at any time or
times she has been sick. She has said to me and to others
here, I am tired and ready to die, but if it's God's will I
want to see this miracle to hold and bless. On the 21st of
December, 2000, a stroke caused, what looked like, the
end of this possibility. On that day, after giving me the
instructions you see here today, she made a request of
me. She did not want me to call anyone else, she wanted
to go peacefully. Her request was that I call her sister,
Mackey, which I did. She said, "No one that Mackey has
ever prayed for, has died." I did, that day, what she
asked. There must have been an Angel there because on
the 27th of December, 2000 she got to hold, love and
bless John Joseph Burns, Jr., the miracle she prayed so
hard for. Her lucky number was always 7. Felma Burns,
the loving wife to Robert Lee Burns and cherished
mother of myself and my brother Robert, the enduring
spirit of my brothers children, Robert and Krystal. With
my special son John Andrew Burns and the last gift she
hoped for this Christmas season, the one she called, Baby
Joe, total the 7 gifts given to her by the God she loved
and trusted so. She lived just 7 days from the baby's
birth on that 27th day of December, and then Felma
Lozano Burns Rested... May the Love, Joy, Grace and
Spirit of The Lord Jesus Christ bless all of us the special
way my mother has blessed me.
With all my love,
January 06, 2001