James Burns

James R. Burns

August 1, 1933 - June 3, 2021
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James R. Burns, 87, passed away in his West Reading residence, Thursday, June 3, 2021.

He was the loving husband of Arlene M. Burns, who passed away on June 9, 2020. They were married on March 16, 1957, and enjoyed 63 beautiful years of marriage together.

Born in Reading, he was the son of the late James and Sarah (Kline) Burns.

He attended Central Catholic High School and enlisted in the U.S. Navy when he turned 18. He proudly served his country from 1951 to 1955.

James worked as a meat cutter at Acme Markets for 42 years until his retirement.

He loved animals, especially his dogs, Blossom and Mitzie, sports, and scratch off lottery tickets. He never met a man (or dog) he didn't like, which told of his true character, a selfless man, a servant. Most importantly he loved his family, cherishing his time with his wife, Arlene, and the rest of his family.

He is survived by his three children: Kathleen A. Bethke, Exeter Twp.; Timothy M. Burns and Mark A. Burns both of West Reading and three grandchildren: Yeardley Y., wife of Jordan Landis, Gabriella F. Burns, and Caleb M. Burns; and one great-granddaughter, Emersyn Landis. There is also one sister, Priscilla Hogue, West Reading.

A funeral service will be held on Saturday, June 12, 2021, at 11:00 am at Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home, Inc. West Reading with burial to follow at Forest Hills Memorial Park. A viewing will be held Saturday, June 12, 2021, from 9:30 am to 11:00 am at the funeral home. Contributions may be made to Veteran Affairs, Lebanon. Condolences may be expressed at
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    June 12, 2021 | 9:30am - 11:00am
    June 12, 2021 9:30am - 11:00am
    Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home, Inc.
    739 Penn Avenue
    West Reading, PA 19611
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    private - 1 hour
  • Service

    June 12, 2021 | 11:00am
    June 12, 2021 11:00am
    Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home, Inc.
    739 Penn Avenue
    West Reading, PA 19611
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Rev. Schaun Myers
  • Interment

    June 12, 2021 | 1:00pm
    June 12, 2021 1:00pm
    Forest Hills Memorial Park
    391 W. Neversink Road
    READING, PA 19606
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Tom and Joyce Rohrbach, Love, Mike & Bonnie Keffer, and other have sent flowers to the family of James R. Burns.
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Heartfelt Sympathies Store

Posted at 10:44am
We are thinking of the 3 of you,Mark,Tim,and Kathy,and keeping you all in our p rayers.Aunt Arlene & Uncle Jim are together once again!Michelle & Eric
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Mark Burns

Posted at 12:10am
My Dad
James R. Burns
Born: Tuesday, August 1st, 1933
Died: Thursday, June 3rd, 2021

The earth lost and heaven gained a great and amazing man Thursday a week ago. My precious Father James Burns went on to glory to be with His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, after living very well an extraordinary life of 87 years, 10 months and 2 days.

My Dad exemplified in the way he lived his life the fruit of God's Holy Spirit working through his everyday normal life. Much could said and dug into in the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that operated in my Dad's life.

My Dad was a good-good man and was the most tenderhearted, caring, kind, patient, relatable, happy and selfless person I knew and he did it not with bells, whistles and pyrotechnics but through his extraordinary normal life touching the lives of those who came in contact with. I can honestly say I have not heard people speak badly of this great man, my Dad…and I honestly didn’t hear him speak badly of others but he always held others in the best light through the heart he lived life.

He loved his wife of 63 years, my Mom, Arlene who went on before him in her passing nearly one year ago on Tuesday, June 9th 2020. He missed her so so much and would be very teary eyed when speaking of her. His heart broke in losing her and it could very well been that he could not face the 1 year anniversary of her death which was nearing in. He would share with my siblings, Kathy and Tim and I how he would still hear in his mind her calling for him....for example he'd hear her calling him to make her cup of coffee, for which he did willingly when Mom was alive. He would say Mom was talking to me a matter of fact not only a few weeks ago he said he heard Mom asking again to make her a cup of coffee, and it being so very real in what he thought he heard he made 2 cups of coffee that day, one for her and one for himself. My Dad...a good and faithful servant indeed and an incredible husband to Mom and they were near inseparable as they were most always found together and many time out shopping, which was my mom’s favorite pass time, along with going out to eat together or with friends and family.

As a Father to me, my Dad was always stable, steady and consistent with who he was and how he lived really in the heart of the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In my heart whether I was present with my Dad or talking over the phone he was not volatile man where he was up and down and would dump his burdens or emotions on others, he was stable, steady and consistent in his relationships, which made him such a loved man. He was normally a pretty upbeat and happy person and to that point, he was asked recently what piece of wisdom he would like to leave for others, he responded very quickly by saying "Be Happy, Be Happy". He lived as an example of a happy and joyful man too.
Thank you Dad for your example you set for us.

My Dad set for me what it looked like as a man to be a Provider for his family and he was a man of a strong work ethic. He was a dedicated employee of Acme Markets where he worked he worked for over 40 years as a meat cutter before retiring over 20 years ago.

My Dad was always very present, whether it was a birthday party, a wedding, an anniversary, a funeral, a holiday, a special event, a Wyomissing Independence Day Parade, transporting someone in his car if they needed a ride someshere, serving at St James Church in his better days by ringing the church bell, counting pennies for Vacation Bible School, distributing the Sunday School Attendance Cards….my Dad was there and present and doing it all with a smile on his face!

My Dad taught me that discipline was needed for children for their instruction. When I was kid as an example my brother Tim and I would be fooling around when it was time to be in bed sleeping….and of course I was the innocent party and could not have possibly have been tormenting my older brother….right Tim!? My Dad would quietly in a stealth like manner make his way up the steps to our bedroom and I would get a more then well-deserved behind whooping. My Dad disciplined not out of anger either but out the need for correction.

Those are just a few of many things I learned from my Dad.

In my Dad's later days of his life, he greatly desired to pass on to others a few things that they may not have known about him:

First was His favorite Bible Verse:
Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Secondly, he wanted people to know what his favorite Hymn was:
"Because He Lives"
In considering my Dad’s faith in Jesus, I’d like to share the 3rd stanza of this hymn, which says: “And then one day, I'll cross that river, I'll fight life's final war with pain, And then as death gives way to victory I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know He (Jesus) reigns.”

Because Jesus reigns and lives and my Dad placing faith in Him he is now more alive than he ever was!

Thirdly, my Dad wanted people to know his favorite Quote:
"I never met a man I didn't like!" Will Rogers

This quote so signified the heart of my Dad, as in his strong character of a respectful, honorable and dignified man he had no ill, bad or malicious words to speak of in regards to any person that crossed his path and he genuinely and sincerely liked all people. What a role model and an example my Dad was in that!!! Thank you Dad for your example to us all.

He also said regarding his favorite quote from Will Rogers that he would take it a step lower by saying “I never meet a dog I didn’t like! Whether it be the family Miniature Schnauzers we had Blossom or Mitzi, or the Miniature Schnauzer Molly my Mom and Dad adopted, or my dog Noah or any other dog of any size, shape or breed my Dad plain loved dogs and really, he had a special place in his heart for all animals period!

Fourthly, my Dad wanted people to know of the testimony of his lost Bible and having it returned to him. He was always moved to tears when he would share this account of this story.

From my Dad’s hand, he wrote the following on a piece of paper not too long ago:
“Favorite Story – Lost Bible”
“A few years ago we had a church picnic at Happy Hallow, church service and picnic combined. I took my Bible along to the Church service. After Church there were fun and games. We went home in the early evening. The next morning I went for my Bible and it was not where I kept it. I told Arlene “I can’t find my Bible” She said you probably left it at the picnic grounds. As we were talking the phone rings, Charlie Zeigler was calling to see if I lost something. I said “Yes, ,y Bible”. He said don’t worry a young man knew it belonged to someone as St James because the Sunday bulletin was inside the cover. Charlie thanked him very much and called him an angel. The young man said “I am an Angel”, that is my name. So now I thank an Angel for returning my Bible.”

Fifthly, Dad’s Baptism
From my Dad’s hand, he also wrote on the same piece of paper the following regarding be Baptized as a Believer in Jesus:
“A few years ago I was re-baptized by being submerged in water that had a big effect on my life. From that day forward, I proclaimed Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I always try to keep the Ten Commandments.

When my Dad was discovered in his residence on Thursday week ago right after noontime in his lifeless physical body by my Brother Tim, he was sitting on her floor he had two books right by that was in front of him upside down on the floor titled "Dog Lovers" and the second was clutched in his right hand titled "Just As I Am" The Autobiography of Billy Graham. Possibly he may have looked at these books prior to his going home to be with Jesus,

So so much more could be written and said to honor my dearly missed Dad.

I love, honor and respect you Dad and will so very much miss you

Linda Minnick

Posted at 04:54pm
This family was always so special to me and my parents during the years we attended St. James Church in West Reading! What a blessing they all were to us! I still have been remembering Jim, Mark, and Tim, and their children in my daily prayers during these years since then; and I always was so happy from time to time when I would cross paths with Tim and Mark since they have always been such an inspiration to me with their love for the Lord! Now my prayers are with all of you during this difficult loss in your family!

Mark Burns Posted at 12:33am

Thank you Linda, Your kind words and prayer mean very much to us. Blessings to you always. Because of Jesus, Mark

Kerry Linton

Posted at 02:16pm
We lost a great man last week, my Uncle Jimmy. Kathy, Tim, & Mark I’m so sorry for the loss of your dear father. The world defines a great man by his achievements in business, athletics, and possessions. I believe a great man is defined by the legacy he passes on to his family. Great men get up and do what needs to be done everyday. He loved his wife Arlene and he loved his family.
One word would describe my Uncle and that word is kindness. He was a friend to everyone he met and I’m a better man by growing up in his presence. He was very close with his sister Priscilla (my mom) and I see the same kindness in her eyes as well. We lost a great man last week.


Tom and Joyce Rohrbach

Posted at 12:29pm
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
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