We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Robert A. Evans Jr. Funeral Home
Lawrence J. Burns
December 14, 2021
Lawrence J. Burns, age 86, of Port Carbon, PA, died on Tuesday, December 14th, 2021, at his home following a brief illness, including a valiant battle with COVID-19 pneumonia. Larry is now with his beloved Mary Rose.
Born in Pottsville, he was the son of the late James M. and Mary May (Tobin) Burns.
Larry was a graduate of Pottsville High School, Class of 1952. Starting at age 6, he helped support his family as a newspaper carrier for the Pottsville Journal for 10 years, followed by employment undertaken as part of his high school Distributive Education course.
In June 1960, Larry was a fun-loving prankster, having engaged in such antics as car surfing, climbing the flagpole in Garfield Square, hiding on the shelf in the cloakroom of the Minersville Legion to frighten unsuspecting young women, and driving to NYC for a cup of coffee, usually in the company of his brother, Bucky. Then he met the love of his life, Mary Rose Rowland, and the transition to hard-working family man and loving husband, father and Pop-Pop began, culminating in 59 years of marriage.
Larry held a variety of jobs during his career, including stock clerk at Philips and Jones and Berks Optical, laborer and roofer at Vincent Hughes Roofing (his favorite), sheet metal worker at Detroiter Mobile Homes, and dryer operator Pottsville Bleaching and Dyeing for 26 years (from which he retired). In retirement, Larry reinvented himself as a janitor for St. Stephen School, Port Carbon, keeping the school sparkling clean for 6 years while extending his professionally-developed skills to the home front, as well.
Larry took considerable pride in his work and forged his identity as a working man, with a great sense of idealism for the value of manual labor and the need for fairness and justice for workers. These beliefs motivated his years of leadership roles in union organizing for Teamsters Local No. 115. Larry fearlessly testified in NLRB hearings in the defense of several coworkers whom he felt were unfairly terminated for their activism. Although the bid for workplace unionization failed, Larry considered the attempt an accomplishment.
A devout Catholic, Larry was a member of St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church in Port Carbon and St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church in Pottsville; he was an altar server at St. Patrick’s in his youth. Never a materialist, Larry took great joy from what he had, and found humor in the mundane every day. He dearly loved and nurtured his grandchildren, giving each one his or her own special nickname or catchphrase, and especially enjoyed reading to them from their favorite books. Although he faked a voice change in his youth to disqualify him from St. Patrick’s Boys’ Choir, he later became the strongest and loudest voice in the St. Stephen’s Adult Choir (directed by wife Mary Rose). A lover of words and wordplay, Larry excelled at crossword puzzles and Wheel of Fortune. His diverse knowledge of subject matter in a variety of topics made him a formidable Jeopardy and Millionaire player. Larry’s extended version of the birthday song was legendary, as was his incredibly lifelike canine barking. Larry was a lifelong superfan of Notre Dame football and basketball, a longtime regular at Hucklebucks, and was an Irishman who loved polkas (enjoying both Pennsylvania Polka and the Magic Polka Machine). Larry loved cigarettes, CNN (although politically independent), the birds, bunnies, trees and flowers in his backyard, Doo-Wop music, corny jokes, long chats with like-minded individuals, a good get-together, and the company of his beloved family (not necessarily in that order). He lived to make people laugh and to love and be loved, and in these he succeeded admirably.
He was the last member of his immediate family, being preceded in death by his parents, his wife of 59 years, Mary Rose (Rowland) Burns on October 21, 2021, four brothers: Joseph B. Burns, John F. "Bucky" Burns, James J. Burns, and Edward J. Tobin; and three sisters: Margaret Alice Burns (Infant), Catherine Horn, and Mary B. Miles.
Larry is survived by daughter Mary Margaret Burns; son Lawrence A. Burns; daughter Maureen Challenger and her husband John; son Patrick Burns and his wife Stacie; grandchildren: Joseph (and fiancée Heather), Megan, Jacob, Liam, Lyla, Amy, Jennifer, Jonny, and Candice; great-grandchildren: Kingsley, John-John, Ari, and Grant; and nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church in Pottsville at 11AM on Monday, December 27th, with Rev. Phillip Rodgers officiating.
Relatives and Friends are invited to visit with the family on Monday morning from 10-11AM at St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church.
Interment will be held in the St. Stephen Cemetery in Port Carbon.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Nativity BVM High School Preservation Fund.
The Robert A Evans Jr Funeral Home in Port Carbon is in charge of arrangements. Please send condolences to www.robertaevansjrfh.com