Obituary: Joseph F. Burns, Jr. (1932-2023)

Joseph F. Burns, Jr. “Burnzie”, 90, of Middletown died on April 14, 2023. Today we lost a fine example of a true American hero. A man who came from humble beginnings and by putting one foot in front of the other, taking one day at a time, provided for his family and served as a role model to others. Joe is survived by his wife of 68 years, Lorraine, their two sons Brian Burns and Bruce Burns, his daughter in law Sandy Silvia Burns and his grandson Alyxander Burns.

Born in Newport, RI on December 19, 1932, he was a lifelong Middletown resident. As a young man he joined the USMC Reserves and was soon activated for the Korean War. He served for two years and remained very proud of his military service.

Joe then returned to his family home in Middletown to begin his life serving the Town of Middletown. First working for the Middletown Public Works and then was given an opportunity to join the Fire Department rising through the ranks to Fire Chief. During his life on the Island, Joe found joy in all that Aquidneck Island has to offer. Reading, fishing, gardening and his greatest passion, woodworking. Joe was a master craftsman. Many of his restorations and reproductions can be found in his home and homes of Newport’s elite furniture collections. “Joe B” was also very proud of a personal achievement of over 50 years of sobriety. His support to others was a gift to those on their own journeys. He was a life member of the Newport Saltwater Fishing Club, member of the RI Association of Fire Chiefs, and served with the RI State Fire Marshal office.

Visiting hours will be held on Thursday, April 20, 2023, from 4:00 to 7:00 PM at the Memorial Funeral Home, 375 Broadway, Newport, RI. Funeral services will be Friday, April 22 with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00am at St. Mary’s Church, Spring Street, Newport. Burial with military honors will follow at the Trinity Cemetery, East Main Road, Portsmouth.

Memorial donations may be made to the Middletown Rescue Wagon Association.




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