Paul M Burns obituary 1926~2022


Paul M Burns, 95, of Chambersburg and formerly of Clearfield, Gettysburg, Fairfield, and Port Allegany, PA, passed away on May 5, 2022, at Providence Place Senior Living.

Paul M Burns
Paul M Burns

Born July 1, 1926 in Imperial, PA, he was the son of the late Paul M. and Hannah Smiley Burns. His beloved wife of 62 years, Gloria, preceded him in death on August 17, 2010.

Growing up in Imperial, PA, Paul developed a love for farming that carried throughout his life. At age 19, he earned his degree in agriculture education from Penn State University. While there, he worked at various jobs and lettered as manager for the wrestling and football teams. He was particularly proud of his responsibility to sit beside Coach Higgins during the games.

His early teaching career took him to Clearfield, PA, where he met and married the love of his life, Gloria Jean Welch. Together they raised their three daughters. Paul was deeply involved in the community and the Presbyterian Church, serving as a Ruling Elder and participating in service organizations, including the Rotary Club. He left education for a while to operate P.M. Burns Farm and Industrial Supply, selling farm and earthmoving equipment and Mack trucks.

Paul returned to school at Penn State a number of times, earning his masters in education, his administrator certification, and writing an Agribusiness program for the university. His return to education took him first to Gettysburg, where he oversaw agriculture and vocational programs in Adams, Cumberland, Franklin and Perry Counties. In Port Allegany, PA, Paul then fulfilled his dream of building, developing and running the area’s first Vocational-Technical school.

Paul and Gloria quickly grew to love their new town, and through his involvement in the Presbyterian church and Rotary Club (which honored him as a Paul Harris Fellow), he participated in and led community enhancement activities, including the design and construction of the town center gazebo for outdoor programs. Even during retirement, Paul worked on grants for community and economic development programs that would bring jobs and industry to the area.

Of all his accomplishments, Paul told everyone he was most proud of his family, which pales compared to the love and pride his family has for him.

He is survived by his three daughters, Bonnie Sandel (John) of Milford, CT; Jeanne Crawford (Charlie) of Seneca, SC; and Paula Fink (George Douglas) of Fayetteville, PA; three grandchildren, Drew Paul Crawford (Holly); Stephanie Crawford McCullough (Clay); and Alexander Jerome “A.J.” Sandel; and four great grandchildren, Brynn and Colin Crawford; and Grayson and Austin McCullough.

Aside from his parents and wife, Paul was preceded in death by five siblings, Jack (infant); Maude, C.B., Tom, and Bob Burns.

Services and interment will be private. Arrangements are entrusted to Thomas L. Geisel Funeral Home and Cremation Center, Chambersburg, PA.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Parkinson Disease Association at their website: HERE or by mailing contributions to American Parkinson Disease Association, P.O. Box 61420, Staten Island, NY 10306.

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