Mike Burns joined his beloved Battalion of Angels on April 11, 2020. Mike was born to Margaret and Dan Burns on December 25, 1946 in Houston, Texas. Mike graduated from Sam Rayburn High School; served in the U.S. Army Military Police in Vietnam 1966-1967; resided in Houston where he worked in sales and security; and relocated to Valley Mills, Texas in 1999, where his grandparents and many of their descendants resided for generations.
An impactful author, Mike published three books that profiled the wartime experience of Vietnam Veterans. Profiles of Courage captured the stories of 27 Vietnam Veterans residing in Bosque County, Texas. He believed that someday history will refer to Vietnam Veterans as some of the most courageous to have ever served our country. In his book, he states, "That assessment (of courage) will be based on what we experienced, how we performed, and what we experienced on our return home." His third book, A Battalion of Angels, shares combat-related stories in which lives were saved by Divine intervention. Mike understood the pain that his Vietnam brothers were going through, and his heart ached for them. This motivated him to write these books to tell their stories, ensure they feel worthy and help them heal. This was Mike's purpose in life, and he befriended many of the Veterans about whom he wrote.
Mike volunteered for Vietnam and served as a squad leader with the U.S. Army Military Police in the Central Highlands Province of Binh Dinh from December 1966 to December 1967. After completion of his service in Vietnam, he was assigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he was awarded the "Soldier's Medal for Heroism: for an incident that occurred on September 17, 1967 near the village of Binh Dinh, Vietnam. In 2015, he was awarded the "Distinguished Citizen Medal" by the Bosque River Valley Chapter (Texas) of the Daughters of the American Revolution for his continued efforts to pay tribute to Vietnam Veterans. He was proud of his service in Vietnam, in the United States Military and to Vietnam Veterans.
Mike married Valerie Golden, his true love, in 1975. Together they pursued their passion of nurturing the flora and fauna around them, appreciating the beauty and profundity of nature and animal life. Both in Houston and Valley Mills, they cultivated beautiful landscapes and cared for countless numbers of cats, dogs, donkeys, turkeys, raccoons, birds, squirrels, and other animals. These animals and plants have benefited by Mike and Valerie's love, kindness and generosity over many decades. Valerie also strongly supported Mike with his writing, and was by his side at book launches, book signings and awards ceremonies.
Mike loved fossil and arrow-head hunting, blackberry picking, storytelling, metal detecting, ice-hockey and classical music. He had an irreverent sense of humor. He shared these and his passion for nature and animals with his close family and friends. Mike also enjoyed and helped "egg on" the family's famously competitive Easter egg hunts, croquet games, badminton competitions, and other games. He was the loudest and most discordant singer at birthday parties, and along with his brother, the originator of too many practical jokes to count at Christmas and other family gatherings. In the mid-1970's, Mike and Valerie lived very near his brother, sister and niece; together they developed a lifetime of good memories and stories in a few short years. He enjoyed Friday nights with his brother, swapping stories and e mails with his sister, and teasing his niece endlessly while providing unwavering support and love. His nephews credit Mike with helping them learn how to be men. Mike enjoyed time with his best friend of 48 years, Hugh Wilburn, recounting the years.
Mike is preceded in death by his parents, Margaret Elizabeth Barham Burns and Dan Boyd Burns; maternal grandparents Maud Rollins Barham and Dee Barham; paternal grandparents Celia Ann Kelly Burns and Charles N. Burns; and sister-in-law Penny Burns. He is survived by his loving wife of 45 years, Valerie Golden Burns; sister, Dianne Render (Michael); brother, Donnie Burns; niece, Shellye Arnold (Tina); nephews JP and James Murphy and families; stepmother Carlene Burns and family; and best friend, Hugh Wilburn.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Stephen Siller Tunnels to Towers Foundation (tunnels2towers.org), which honors the sacrifice of firefighter Stephen Siller who laid down his life to save others on September 11, 2001. The Foundation honors military and first responders who continue to make the supreme sacrifice of life and limb for our country.
Mike joins his Vietnam brothers who have crossed over. The Battalion of Angels grew mightier on April 11, 2020 with the addition of Mike Burns.
Thoughts and memories may be shared with the Burns family at www.lawsonfuneralhome.net.
Arrangements were made by Lawson Funeral Home, Meridian, Texas 254-435-2792.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Michael Dee Burns, please visit our floral store.