Michael Patrick Burns

March 18, 1951 ~ November 26, 2023 (age 72) 72 Years Old

Michael Burns Obituary

Michael Patrick Burns, 72, of Westminster, MA passed away peacefully on November 26, 2023, following a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. As in life, Mike was surrounded by family and friends until the very end.  Born on March 18, 1951, to James Henry Burns Sr. and Beatrice “Bea” Burns (Andrews), Mike was the youngest of four children.  Mike was predeceased by his sister, Judy, in infancy, and her twin brother, James Burns Jr. in 2022.  Mike leaves behind his wife and companion of 36 years, Michelle Burns (Pouliot); older brother Richard Burns Sr.; sons Ryan and Colin Burns, and Matthew Despres; as well as Leslie Burns, Lisa Despres, and Melissa Ruchdeschel, who he loved as if they were his own daughters.  Mike also leaves behind his sister-in-law Jeanne Kilpatrick and her husband David; brother in-law John Pouliot and his wife Sondra; nieces Erin Blackburn, Stacey Edge, Mara Burns, and nephew Richard Burns Jr.

Affectionately known as “Pep”, Mike’s pride, joy, source of daily inspiration, and who he loved above all were his seven grandchildren: Quinn and Reese Burns, Brody and Kayla Despres, and Declan, Riley and Kellen Burns.  Mike also leaves behind countless lifelong friends including Phil Sweeney, Mark Rice, Dick Cotton, Michael Haley, David O’Brien, Michael Fitzgerald and John Davenport.

Mike was born, raised, and lived most of his life in the Fitchburg/Westminster area where he was surrounded by family, including over thirty 1st cousins.  Mike attended St. Bernard’s Boys’ Grammar School, St. Bernard’s High School (STB) and later Fitchburg State University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute studying engineering.  Mike worked at Burbank Hospital as the Director of Engineering, and then worked for the City of Fitchburg’s Board of Health for nearly 20 years. 

Some of Mike’s fondest memories were growing up on the South Side of Fitchburg with neighborhood friends, playing football for STB and later the Twin City Chiefs, skating on recreational hockey league teams into his late 40’s, coaching his sons in youth soccer and football, attending social gatherings and reunions with lifelong friends, watching Boston sports, showering his loved ones with gifts at Christmas, and traveling with Michelle, Jeanne and David.  Mike’s greatest joy in life was playing with his seven grandchildren.

Throughout his battle with cancer as well as surviving a severe car accident in 2002, Mike was forever the warrior, never allowing obstacles of any magnitude to impact his positive outlook on life.  Mike was fun-loving, kind and selfless, always putting others first. He loved sharing stories and jokes, wanting to put a smile on someone else’s face – a true Irishman. His love, support, and spirit will live on in his family and friends, who cherish his memory and miss him dearly.  As the patriarch of the family, Mike’s unconditional love will be remembered forever. 

Calling hours for Mike will be held on Monday, December 4,2023 at Lavery Chartrand Alario Funeral Home, 99 Summer St. Fitchburg, MA  from 5:00  until 7:00 PM.  A Catholic Mass will be held on Tuesday, December 5, 2023 at St. Edward the Confessor Church, 10 Church St. Westminster, MA at 10:00 AM. All relatives and friends are welcome to attend.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. JUDE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL at – a charity dear to Mike’s heart.

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