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Frank Burns Obituary & Service

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Frank Lee Burns died Thursday, December 4, at Seton Health Center, surrounded by his loving family. Frank Burns was born in Colby, Kansas, on November 23, 1939, the son of Oran Burns and Marie Wilson Burns.

He received a BA from Central Michigan University, where he helped draft the Port Huron Statement, and a Masters in Criminology from Sam Houston State. 

Frank Burns was a visionary, a free spirit, a great thinker, a poet, a woodcarver, a philosopher, and a clown.  He had a distinguished Army career, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel, and was awarded a Silver Star and a Bronze Star with two Oak Leaf Clusters.  He served two tours of duty in Vietnam, and was an advisor to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  He was a visionary in the field of organizational development, introducing it to the Department of Defense.  In 1982, he founded the MetaNetwork,, a pioneer online community.  He was one of the first 100 hang glider pilots in the country, and continued flying stunt kites with his wife Billye Adams, to the delight of crowds of children at the Washington Monument and elsewhere.  He told tall tales and carved intricate walking sticks and wands of diamond willow.  He and Billye moved to Georgetown, her home town, in 2002. 

Survivors include his wife Billye Adams, of Georgetown; his brother Rex Burns and wife Judy, of Linden, Michigan; his sister Nancy Brill and husband Adrian, of Sun City West, Arizona; his sons Kent Burns and wife Kathi, of Charlotte, North Carolina and Scott Burns and wife Hope, of Arlington, Virginia; his stepdaughters Katherine Lemon of Boston, Massachusetts, and Jennifer Renee and husband Oren Wear, of Galena, Alaska, his grandchildren Megan, Nathan, and Patrick Burns, Devon Wear, and Aaron and Jeffrey Horowitz, his mother-in-law Edwina Adams and the extended family; his nieces and nephews, countless friends and family, and his good dog, Bo. 

There will be a graveside service at 2:00 Saturday, December 5, at St. John’s Cemetary in Georgetown.  Gabriel’s Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.  The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the local American Cancer Society, c/o Mrs. Patsy Brady, 202 Brazos Drive, Georgetown, 78628. 
The outline of the service: 


WH Auden, Funeral Blues 

        Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone. 
        Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, 
        Silence the pianos and with muffled drum 
        Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. 
        Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead 
        Scribbling in the sky the message He is Dead, 
        Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves, 
        Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves. 
        He was my North, my South, my East and West, 
        My working week and my Sunday rest 
        My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; 
        I thought that love would last forever, I was wrong. 
       The stars are not wanted now; put out every one, 
        Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun. 
        Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood; 
        For nothing now can ever come to any good. 

That is where we begin today; it's how we feel.  But it is not where Frank wants us to stay. 

Frank's story (longer version of obituary) 

Our Meta Story 

Grandkids' memories 

Peace prayer of St. Francis 
        O Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace! 
        Where there is hatred, let me sow love. 
        Where there is injury, pardon. 
        Where there is discord, harmony. 
        Where there is doubt, faith. 
        Where there is despair, hope. 
        Where there is darkness, light. 
        Where there is sorrow, joy. 

        Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not  
        so much seek to be consoled as to console;  
        to be understood as to understand; 
        to be loved as to love; 
        for it is in giving that we receive;  
        it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;  
        and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. 

Amazing Grace 

Navajo prayer: 

        Do not stand on my grave and weep; 
        I am not there. I do not sleep. 
        I am a thousand winds that blow. 
        I am the diamond's glint on snow. 
        I am the sunlight on ripened grain. 
        I am the gentle autumn's rain. 
        When you awaken in the morning's hush, 
        I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight. 
        I am the soft stars that shine at night. 
        Do not stand at my grave and cry; 
        I am not there. I did not die. 

Folding of the flag 

Lowering of the casket 

Discussion icon Our Meta Story

Posted by: chris at 2003-12-06

We are at the beginning of extra-ordinary history. The technology of electronic networking has freed us from the tyranny of the formal hierarchy.

And we are now free to create new forms of purposeful human systems.

Not to replace existing structures.

But to transcend them.

And we not only have the capacity to electrify our networks.

I think we must.

Given the state of affairs in most formal human structures, this is something that we had better do.

And one of the great ironies is that we’ll actually be serving the very structures we’ll transcend.

We’ll be infusing them with new spirit.

Imagine the emergence of a new meta-culture.

Imagine all kinds of people everywhere getting committed to human excellence, getting committed to closing the gap between the human condition and the human potential.

Imagine a rapidly growing movement of “excellence activists” that runs into, through and amongst all kinds of existing organizations and human communities

And imagine all of us hooked up with a common high tech communications system.

That’s a vision that brings tears to the eyes.

Human excellence is an ideal that we can embed into every formal human structure on our planet.

And that’s really why we’re going to do this.

And that’s also why The Meta Network is a creation we can love.

And that may be the most important reason we should work together to make it happen.

  • Frank Burns, January 1983 From the original concept paper for The Meta Network
Dec 04, 2003 12:00 AM