ROBERT JERRY BURNS, age 85, of Hot Springs passed away June 1, 2021. He was born in Camden, June 3, 1935, to the late Robert Charles Burns and Annie Grady Hamblett Burns. He was predeceased by his wife of 56 years, Evelyn Jo Richardson Burns.
Survivors include their beloved son Brent Richardson Burns; two sisters Katherine Ann Hoy (Pat) and Betty Rose Gunn; nephews and niece Patrick Hundley Hoy (Stephan), Timothy Burns Hoy (Nicolle), and Elizabeth Gunn Baumann (Daniel); great-nephews and great-nieces Colin Timothy Hoy, Charles Thomas Hoy, Ella Rose Baumann, and Evelyn Rose Baumann; along with numerous relatives on the Burns, Hamblett, Richardson and Petty sides of the family.
When The Travelers insurance company named Jerry its Manager of the Year in 1982, no one was surprised that he was the first recipient of this prestigious award. Fellow workers and supervisors later claimed that he had set the company’s benchmark. One also wrote of “the spontaneous outpouring of warm approval.”
During his years with Travelers, Jerry occasionally represented the company in pro-am golf tournaments. He had, after all, managed two holes-in-one and was the best public relations guy in town. At Augusta, on one occasion when Travelers was a sponsor, Jerry’s kindness to an employee led to a private tour of the sacred clubhouse. He, like his sisters, was a captivating storyteller.
His love of sports was likely engendered by an early bout with polio during high school. He went on to become a Southwest Conference pole-vault champion, and he didn’t stop vaulting until he won gold in the Senior Olympics at age 68.
But there was yet another aspect of this winner. Beneath a thin competitive and corporate veneer, Jerry was a gentle man, lauded by family, friends, and those who worked for and with him. We all recognized his steadfastness and his generosity of spirit, saw in him a coach and a trusted friend who gave freely of his own hard-earned resources.
That he loved Evelyn and Brent beyond belief-- loved them unconditionally--was Jerry Burns’ abiding hallmark.
And yet, every person who ever knew him knew that he shared his love and concern with all of us. He never ever met a stranger.
Family and friends will miss him both now and forever.
A Celebration-of-Life will be held at 1 O’clock on July 6th at the Ruggles-Wilcox Funeral Home in Arkadelphia. Family and friends are invited. Visitation will be one hour prior to service.
Arrangements by Ruggles-Wilcox Funeral Home, 517 Clay St, Arkadelphia, AR 71923.
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