Joe Dan Burns

June 13, 1926 – October 7, 2008

I’m really going to miss Joe Burns. Katie’s grandfather was loved and respected by everyone who got to know him, and considering how he never met a stranger, there were a lot of folks who were lucky enough to know him. The memorial service for him on October 11 was well-attended, and the memories shared by his family and friends were a unanimous testament to his character. Repeatedly, I overheard mourners say that he exemplified Brokaw’s characterization of “the greatest generation.” He was an expert in his field, a cornerstone of his church, and a revered leader to his family and friends.

His widow Faye, who has always made me feel like a grandson, is going to continue living in Knoxville for the time being. She’s an oak, and she has a wonderful group of family and friends who love and support her. I look forward to the day my daughter meets her great-grandmother, and hears some of the many stories about her great-grandfather.

A black walnut grove on the Burns tree farm.

A black walnut grove on the Burns tree farm.

Jackie W. Jones’ Recovery

My mother’s health is improving. Blood counts have begun trending in a positive direction. For the first time in months, she isn’t dependent on daily blood transfusions and mineral supplements. Still, a few nagging problems persist. I don’t mean “nagging problems” like a crick in your neck or a head cold. I mean nagging problems like a bladder infection and altered vision due to inflammation of the eye.

If you know my mother, you know that these afflictions are small potatoes compared to what she’s been through the past two years. She has overcome so many hardships; there’s no reason to doubt her ability to overcome these lingering ailments. Our hope is that my mom’s immune system is gradually recovering, and that my parents will again have a semblance of normal life in the near future.