We all have folk who come into our lives and who make a difference and who become lodged in our heart and we love and remember them always. Walton Hugh Burns was such a person. He and I were first cousins so that made him all the more precious. I remember when he was born and what a beautiful baby he was. Wally passed away on May 2, in B.C. after a long and courageous battle with cancer.
Wally, as he was called the majority of his life, was born to (Eunice) Isabel (Fraser) and (Walter) Raymond Burns on July 8, 1942 in Amherst. After the war they resided on Havelock Street and later moving to Winston Ave. He spent the first half of his life in Amherst and Shinimicas, receiving his schooling in Amherst and following that he worked for the Coca Cola Company. He liked fishing and used to take Denny Doyle with him. Another friend was Junior Munroe, who was best man at Wally and Shirley's wedding.
Wally was the youngest of three boys. The eldest was Kenneth MacRae Burns (1924-1981) who married Mabel Amos (1925-1976). They had three children: Gordon Raymond, Allan MacRae and Charlotte Isabel. His second brother, Frank, lives in Amherst with wife Betty.
On July 9, 1960 he married Shirley Watson, who resided with her sister, Roxie Whitman and family, on Russell St., Amherst. Wally's mother, Aunt Bell, died five years later on May 12, 1965.
They were blessed with six children, two girls and four boys: Janet Ann, David Walton, Stephen Frank (who died of crib death at the age of one-and-a-half months), Judith Lynn, Jeffery Robert and Peter Scott.
Wally and Shirley moved to British Columbia with their young family and would visit "back home" on occasion.
He was a loved dad and a great "Papa" to his grandchildren: Heather, Steven, Amanda, Stephanie, Ashley, Justin, Kara, Kelli, Andrew and Nathan and his great grandchildren, Hailey and Carter.
Wally wanted to come home this summer for a visit because his time was running out, but he wanted his ashes buried with his mom and dad in Shinimicas. On July 8, his 67th birthday, his committal and his life were celebrated by his family and friends. The Rev. Carolyn MacLeod (cousin) was asked to "say a few words" at Wally's request. Shirley's sister, Roxie, read a few words, as did her daughter Brenda. David made the container for his ashes also as requested by Wally. It was beautifully made with love for a special dad.
Shirley and four of the children brought his ashes home. Janet LaRocque, Trail, B.C., David, Kelowna, B.C., Jeff, Trout Lake, B.C. and Peter, Calgary, Alta. Judy, unable to come, lives in Las Vegas, U.S.A. and fortunately had spent time previously with her dad. Each member of the family, Shirley, Judy, David, Jeff, Peter and Frank, placed a red rose on the urn.
Members of Shirley's family came from various areas mainly Fredericton and the New Glasgow area. Shirley's sister Roxie and her husband, Doug, daughters Betty Sanderson, Phyllis Scott, Brenda Whitman and Vicki Whitman and son Bob Whitman. Shirley's sister Jean Bowden plus Wally's brother Frank and his wife, Betty Burns.
Wally's cousins were Elizabeth and Cecil Moore, Jean and Rod Miller, Delbert and Gloria Fraser and their daughters Wanda Bickle and Colleen and David Wile and son Zack, Marilyn and Allan Conklin, Carolyn and Victor MacLeod and Lloyd Fraser and Donna Nichols. Friends attending were Junior and Phyllis Munroe from Oshawa, Ont., Kenny and Judy Canton from Amherst.
We are his only cousins on the Fraser side. His mother and our father were brother and sister. Our parents were born in West Broxbury, Mass. And, after their father died when they were very young, our grandmother moved back to Nova Scotia and the children were raised by different families in Shinimicas. We found it funny that we only had three cousins on Dad's side but 76 on our mother's side.
On the Burns side, I remember that Uncle Raymond had a brother, Lyle Burns that lived on a farm in Shinimicas. His wife was Cynthia and I think they had three children, two boys (Mack & ? ) and a girl named Joanne. There was an Aunt Grace who lived there as well. One thing that I do remember was the old gander. He used to chase us (kids) every chance he had. Aunt Bell used to rent a place from Russell Pipes for the summer and she used to take us out to stay as well. I can remember picking strawberries over at the Pipes farm.
Wally was only eight when I moved to Ontario and was married. Back then we only came home every other year. Once our boys were older, we came home every year but Wally and Shirley had moved to British Columbia where their family grew up. When Wally's health started to fail, they tried to come home periodically.
We shall always remember Wally's smile, his humour and his gentle ways.
May he rest in peace?