Cover photo for William  Francis Burns's Obituary
William  Francis Burns Profile Photo
1932 William 2021

William Francis Burns

June 23, 1932 — June 5, 2021

On the evening of the 5th of June 2021, Major General William (Bill) Francis Burns of Carlisle, Pennsylvania passed away at the age of 88. He was born in Scranton, PA in 1932, the eldest son of William and Eleanor Burns. Major General Burns graduated from La Salle College, Philadelphia in 1954 and served with distinction in the U.S. Army for 35 years. He was a Field Artillery officer, a Brigade Commander, the deputy commandant of the U.S. Army War College, a professor, and a nuclear arms reduction negotiator as the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Representative to the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) negotiations. He earned a Master’s degree from Princeton after completing a yearlong combat tour during the Vietnam War and received an Honorary Doctorate from La Salle University. After his retirement from the military, he served as the Director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency under President Reagan, and then as Ambassador for the implementation of the Nunn-Lugar Program under President George H.W. Bush, helping to ensure the security and safe destruction of nuclear weapons in the Former Soviet Union. Later, he served as a judge on Pennsylvania’s Court of Judicial Discipline. He continued to teach and lecture at the U.S. Army War College and remained actively involved until his death in the promotion of arms control – a true soldier, statesman and public servant.

He was a devoutly religious person eager to help anyone who required it. He had a wonderful dry sense of humor and enjoyed making all around him laugh. He was full of stories, some of which even had a grain of truth. He was the patriarch and always "there" for his extended family. Moreover, while he will be remembered for many things and by the many people whose lives he touched, his greatest accomplishment was a beautiful and loving marriage to his wife, Peggy, which was the powerful genesis for all of their other achievements. Before his death, they were looking forward to celebrating their 66th wedding anniversary later in June. General Burns is preceded in death by his parents and two of his brothers, Jimmy and Jack Burns. He is survived by his wife Peggy, his brother Edward, his four sons and their wives, Bill (Lisa), Jack (Anne), Bob (Vicky) and Mark (Magali), and tens of grandchildren and great grandchildren. Interment will take place at 10:45AM on Wednesday, November 23, 2022 at Arlington National Cemetery. A funeral mass was held in their cottage chapel at Cumberland Crossings.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the Hoffman Funeral Home and Crematory, 2020 W. Trindle, Rd., Carlisle, PA 17013. To sign the guest book please visit www.HoffmanFH.com.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William Francis Burns, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Cemetery

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Starts at 10:45 am (Eastern time)

Arlington National Cemetery

1 Memorial Avenue, Arlington, VA 22211

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Burial

Arlington National Cemetery

1 Memorial Avenue, Arlington, VA 22211

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