Patrick Parnell Burns, Jr.

Published 5:10 pm Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Sept. 6, 1946 – Nov. 29, 2023

NATCHEZ – Family, and friends of Patrick Parnell Burns, Jr. will gather on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023, at the First Presbyterian Church of Natchez at 11 a.m. to celebrate his life and mourn his sudden death on Nov. 29, 2023. Visitation will be from 10 until 11 a.m. in Stratton Chapel at First Presbyterian Church. Known to everyone as Pat, he will leave a huge void in many organizations in which he was actively involved, as well as in his large, close family and extensive circle of friends and colleagues.

A native of Natchez, Pat was born Sept. 6, 1946, to Patrick Parnell Burns, Sr., and Edith Profilet Burns.  He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Connie Riley Burns; two sons, Nathan Burns and wife, Vanessa of New Orleans, and their daughters, Clara and Campbell and Eric Burns, and wife, Karin of Carlsbad, California, and their sons, Charlie and Riley. Other survivors include his siblings Julie Riley of Natchez, Noreen Pyron of Natchez, Catherine Spence of Pass Christian, MS, Margaret Humble and husband, Tommy of Baton Rouge, LA, Frances Cothren of Natchez, Billy Abbott and wife, Debbie of Covington, LA, Andrew Burns and wife, Helen of Natchez, Jane Bush and husband, Kenny of Natchez and a multitude of nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, one great, great niece and other extended family members.

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Growing up, Pat was a member of St. Mary’s Cathedral and attended Cathedral School until his graduation in 1964. In 1968, he graduated from Mississippi State University with a degree in accounting.  There he was an active member, and later active alumnus, of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. His love for his alma mater was obvious, as he never took off his MSU ring and rarely missed watching an MSU game. His favorite MSU sport was baseball, and he always followed the team each time they made it to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.

Immediately after graduation, Pat became a Certified Public Accountant and went to work for Ernst and Ernst accounting firm in New Orleans. He later served one year of active duty and three years in the reserves in the United States Coast Guard as a Petty Officer.

After his tour of duty, Pat went to work for Fluor Ocean Services and Santa Fe Engineering and Construction where he and Connie enjoyed living in Houma, Louisiana, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Edinburgh, Scotland and Orange, California. In 1981, they returned to Natchez where he became the first Financial Manager of an Energy Drilling Company. He soon took over as General Manager, and he is credited by shareholders for navigating the company through the downturn of the 80’s and saving the company from the demise that many drilling companies faced. He was later named Chairman of the Board, as well as acting manager until he retired in 2018, after which he remained an active board member and shareholder. He collaborated with local and regional enterprises as a mentor, advisor, and investor.

Pat’s outside affiliations and interests were varied and extensive. He served on the board of the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society and was also its membership chairman. There he was known to be willing to take care of the smallest of needs. He served for three years on the board of the Historic Natchez Foundation and was serving on the board of the Natchez-Adams County Port Commission at his death.  As manager of Energy Drilling, he was active in numerous oil and gas associations. He was a longtime member of the Natchez Rotary Club and Retirement Hunting Club.   Pat believed in doing his share and more as a member of any group he joined.

Pat’s efforts and love went foremost into his extensive family and friends, which everyone felt when he greeted them.  He never failed to ask pertinent questions about everyone’s lives, and frequently sent newspaper clippings, book suggestions, etc. to those he thought would be interested. His immediate family looked to him as its leader after his father’s death, a job which he took seriously.   He and Connie loved hosting family gatherings, including the annual Christmas night party for the entire Burns family.  He recently took great pride in portraying his father, Pat Burns, Sr., at the annual Angels on the Bluff fundraiser for the Historic Natchez City Cemetery.

Pat was known as “Ba Ba” to his four grandchildren. Nothing gave Pat more pleasure than spending time reading to and playing with them and making up nighttime stories for them. His lake house, known as “Sunrise Sunset”, on Lake St. John was the favorite spot for Pat and Connie to visit with family and their many friends. He was often seen swimming, a lifelong passion, from the pier and captaining the float boat with a boatload of passengers.

As a lover of learning, Pat was an ardent reader and traveler.  He and Connie traveled the world visiting almost all states and countless countries with family and friends.  One of their favorite destinations was Africa, which they visited several times with their children.  His love of music was evidenced by his attendance at most musical events in the area. Fishing and hunting with his boys were valued traditions. Many good times were spent at Retirement Hunting Club and at “Killarney”, the family property along the Mississippi River down below International Paper.

Above all else, Pat was a man respected by all who knew him.  Everyone valued his advice and friendship.  His friends often said that Pat was really a man of the “Greatest Generation” because of his undeniable integrity and loyalty, as well as his unfailing work ethic.  His death leaves deep sorrow in the hearts of the many who were privileged to know him.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to any of these charitable institutions: Mississippi State University General Scholarship Fund, Burns-Grady Memorial Trust (484-185) (administered by The Catholic Foundation, Jackson, Mississippi), Natchez-Adams County Humane Society, Rotary Foundation of America (Clean Water Projects and Polio Plus), National Chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity Educational Foundation – Future Leaders Campaign, Natchez Community Stewpot, Natchez-Adams County Habitat for Humanity, and First Presbyterian Church of Natchez Pastor’s Discretionary Fund.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at lairdfh.com.