Melvin Burns of Mason passed away on Saturday, August 29, at the age of 70 in the home of his youngest son in Thorndale. He passed peacefully, surrounded by loved one, after fulfilling his goal of supporting his son in his first game as a head coach.
Melvin is survived by his wife, Sandra Burns of Mason, and their four sons: Kevin Burns and wife Melissa of Bronte, Kyle Burns and wife Kayla of Kerrville, Kerry Burns of Abilene, and Kade Burns and wife Julie of Thorndale. He is also survived by nine grandchildren who called him "Puck" - Lahne, Lauren, Lance, Kelby, Kinley, Maegan, Krista, Avery and Ainsley. He was preceded in death by his parents, Reed and Bert Burns, and a twin brother, Wayne Burns.
For 36 years, Melvin served the public as teacher/coach in Mason, Reagan County and Menard. He was named Coach of the Year by the San Angelo Standard-Times several times, and was recognized by the Texas High School Coaches Association for the number of wins that he enjoyed in football. He was honored by the Mason County Chamber of Commerce as Educator of the Year in 2000. He has served on the selection committee for the THSCA's all star game. However, the reward that he cherished most was the lifelong bond that he shared with the people he taught and coached. After retiring from the public school system, Melvin worked in the Sheriff's office on a part time basis, but even then he was most often called Coach Burns. He spent many afternoons at the golf course, and he enjoyed the role of spectator as he watched his grandchildren participate in football, golf, basketball, soccer, volleyball and track.
Funeral services were held on Tuesday, September 1 at 10:00 a.m. at the Mason Church of Christ where he had been an active member for many years. Mark Hackett, minister of the Lamesa Church of Christ, officiated with the assistance of friend and colleague, Lee Graham. Congregational singing was led by Fred Estes. Active pallbearers were John Burges of Colorado Springs, CO, Johnny Clawson of San Saba, Mickey Dodds of Wall, Keith McCutchen of Bronte, Mickey Tom Owens of Monahans, and Dane Phillips, Fred Estes and Pat Ziriax, all of Mason. Honorary pallbearers were his golfing buddies, represented by James Toeppich, Boog Holloway, Jerry Burleson, Larry Cavaness, Larry Smith and Steve Toone; coaches and former team members.
Interment followed in the Gooch Cemetery. Visitation with the family was Monday evening, August 31, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.
From the 1989 Mason High School yearbook:
coach (koch) vt. 1. to train intensively (as by instruction and demonstration)
At Mason High School, the word "coach" has much more meaning. While working so closely with an athlete, many times a coach becomes a best friend. Being a coach involves many long hours beyond the average school day. During this time, the coaches are either viewing films, helping rehabilitate injured players or developing strategies for their upcoming opponents.
At Mason High School, many coaches have contributed to the success of the athletic teams. And the head of all the coaches for the past few years has been Coach Melvin Burns. Coach Burns worked at Mason High School for 12 years. As head coach he has won an outstanding 101 games, lost only 32, and tied one game. Coach Burns has led eight different football teams into the state playoffs. Out of these eight teams, six of them have been the District Champions. Along with his successful football teams, Coach Burns has coached girls basketball teams and both golf teams. He has also served as the Athletic Director.
Although 1989 was his last year as the Head Football Coach, he has turned his energy to other interests. His talent and love for golf will guarantee success of MHS. Coach Burns has also assumed duties as the Administrative Assistant. Many thanks and congratulations go to Coach Burns for his many years of success!