Curtis James Burns

Services for Curtis J. Burns, 70, Lawrence, will be held at a later date. Curtis was born in Garden City, Kansas, on May 27, 1950 to Byron James (Jim) and Ruth Louise (Kirchoff) Burns, both deceased. Curtis succumbed to prostate cancer on Thursday, August 27, 2020 after an almost 18-year battle.

He attended Garden City schools and graduated from Garden City High School in 1968, and graduated from Garden City Community College in 1972. Curtis enjoyed playing baseball from Little League through America Legion. He played basketball in high school and was a member of the starting 5 from the last semester of 1967, through his senior year of 1968. He was most proud of playing a basketball game in the state tournament in his junior year in Allen Fieldhouse.

He worked for his dad at his father’s Kerr-McGee service station from the time he was 15 until he graduated from Garden City Junior College in 1972.

Curtis and his wife, Joyce moved to Lawrence, Kansas, in 1972, where he attended the University of Kansas. In 1974, he bought a retail liquor store which became Burns Retail Liquor and owned it until 1981. Curtis sold cars for Bob Hopkins Volkswagen-Subaru starting in 1982. In 1988, Curtis went to work for Jim Clark Motors in the sales department and worked there for 20 years until he retired in 2008.

He then became a driver for Jim Clark’s and Briggs Motors until fully retiring in 2016. Curtis is survived by his wife, Joyce of 51 years and a big yellow cat named Bobby, his mother-in-law, Doris Thompson, sisters-in-law, Carol Supancic (Tom) and Tracy Lingenfelser (John) of Lawrence, Kansas, Michelle Myers (Eric) of Columbus, Ohio, and Lisa Thompson of Houston, Texas, and nieces and nephews, Jennifer Sanderson (Joe), Katie Gustke (Greg), Audrey Gedera (Mike), Matthew Thompson (Hoany), Timber Supancic, Cassady Clinkscale, Kennedy Clinkscale, Erin Myers, Jason Myers; great-nephews, Koby Sanderson, Jordan Petry; great-nieces, Ave Thompson and Emmy Thompson; and cousins.

Curtis enjoyed KU sports (having season tickets to football and basketball for 48 years), his fabulous tailgate friends, baseball and especially the Royals and Chiefs. As one of his friends noted – “His smile, wit, eyes and hair are beyond compare.” Good friend and brother-in-law, Eric, enjoyed his “razor-sharp wit.” Curtis also had a fairly vast knowledge of sports trivia especially when it came to baseball. He loved movies and he and another great friend had a standing date every Thursday afternoon when they would watch a “noir” movie that Curtis had recorded. It can definitely be said that Curtis’s vast array of friends will never forget him as he was a very unique person and a true friend.

Memorials may be made to the Lawrence Humane Society or The Visiting Nurses Association and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044. Curtis would also like to thank the LMH Oncology Department for such good care during his many years of treatment.

14 Condolences

  1. Julia Hart Petersen on August 30, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    Curtis was our next door neighbor when I was growing up. I remember he and his family well. May he rest in peace.

  2. Paul Cromer on August 30, 2020 at 10:00 pm

    Curtis was a good man and great to work with. We both worked at Jim Clark Motors over 20 years ago selling, Dodge, Chrysler, Plymouth, Jeep, Eagle, Isuzu, Volkswagen, and used cars. Curtis always had a funny story or joke. He always referred to me as “young Cromer.” Even though it’s been so long, I will never forget the story he told about a know it all type customer who came in to look at a Volkswagen. Curtis started telling the guy all he knew about the VW. The customer eventually stopped Curtis and said, “You don’t need to tell me about this car, I know everything there is to know about this car. I am an engineer.” Curtis looked at the guy with a straight face and asked, “Really, with what railroad?” That story still makes me chuckle. He will be missed by all that knew him.

  3. Jim and Nadia on August 31, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    Curtis was one of the funniest people I’ve ever known,yet quiet-spoken and honest as the day is long. A huge Jayhawk and Royals fan and a walking encyclopedia of good ol’ GCK. He will be greatly missed. Our deepest sympathies to Joyce and family.

  4. Lew Snodgrass on September 1, 2020 at 7:15 am

    I first met Curtis when I hired in at Jim Clark Motors; at first, I didn’t know what to make of Curtis. Let’s just say he was an animated individual. Soon it became apparent that Curtis was a person I wanted to call my friend. Curtis took it upon his self to care for the dealerships cat “Scout”. Curtis made sure Scout was spayed, had all of her shots, and had plenty to eat. Curtis took Scout into his own home when Briggs said she had to go. These selfless acts are proof that Curtis had a kind heart.
    I left Kansas in ’98, we stayed in touch. One year he visited me here on Akron, Ohio. In turn, we always got together when I returned to Lawrence to visit. I must admit, I have adopted some of Curtis’ mannerisms, he had that effect on me.
    I’m proud to have called Curtis my friend; he will be greatly missed.

  5. Cathy Nunley on September 1, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    We’re so very sorry to hear about Curtis. He was such fun to be around. Our sincerest condolences. Cathy & Don Nunley

  6. Jake williams on September 2, 2020 at 11:54 am

    Curtis was an infectious Soul. People were drawn to him. Curtis always had a joke or story of his past ready to share with me.
    He taught me how to sell cars (which is debatable) and kept me in check during my time at Jim Clark motors.
    Rest peacefully brother!
    My dearest condolences Joyce!

  7. Rex Buchanan on September 2, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    I played softball with Curtis for years. He was a great teammate and a good guy. My condolences.

  8. Dennis Supancic on September 3, 2020 at 9:03 am

    To the Curtis family. So sorry to hear of your loss. I know its difficult to lose a family member. May God comfort you all at this difficult time.

  9. Debbie Rowland on September 3, 2020 at 9:24 pm

    Curtis was Ron’s best friend and Ron enjoyed their trips to watch the Royals games. I think Curtis was the nicest and funniest friends Ron ever had. Curtis was a great guy and will be missed my all who knew him. All our love to you Joyce. Ron and Debbie Rowland

  10. Mike and Barbara Malone on September 4, 2020 at 3:55 pm

    Those who knew Curtis think he was a great guy. We couldn’t agree more. He made everyone feel a little bit better, laugh a little bit harder, and smile a little bit longer. We are so sorry for your loss and you are in our thoughts.

    Mike and Barbara Malone

  11. Rita Wagner on September 4, 2020 at 8:28 pm

    In spite of his own difficulties, Curtis was always so upbeat and positive. I was always happy to see him come in the door. I knew my day would be better just by talking to him. My deepest sympathy to you. I’m sure he’ll be missed by many.
    Scheduler at LMH Oncology

  12. Michelle Ekoniak on September 7, 2020 at 2:03 pm

    Joyce and the Burns family, Please accept condolences from Paul and I. We are thankful that we were able to see you and Curtis in July. I have fond memories of 4th of July parties at Tom and Carol’s with y’all and Christmas parties at your house. You have an amazing family and our thoughts and prayers are with y’all. I will never forget Curtis giving me a hard time for going to K-State and the conversations about KU-K-State basketball and football, the Royals and the Chiefs. May they all have great seasons this year. Love and hugs to you from Va Beach.

  13. Debra E Carnagie on September 15, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    Sweet Sweet Man. I will always treasure his Chex Mix (the best ever) recipe I received in his own handwriting!!

  14. Jeff Boone, MD on October 14, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    I just new Curtis through Junior High and High School in Garden City, KS. Memorable Man who went on to a great life. Great pitcher who lead us to a near western Kansas championship at age 12 battling a 6’2” pitcher with the first curve ball we had ever seen for 9 innings in a 1-0 loss. Tough point guard with a sweet jumper from the top of the key. Sorry for your loss…hope to join you in heaven some day and we’ll catch up.

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