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John 'Jack' William Burns, Jr.

July 18, 2023


John (Jack) William Burns, Jr., age 85 of Tellico Village, passed away on Tuesday, July 18, 2023, after a brief illness with loving care at Sacred Ground Hospice House.

Our beloved dad was born on January 15, 1938, in Nashville, Tenn. The son of Mary Louise Hailey Burns and John William Burns, Sr. "Jackie" attended Holy Name Parochial School in Nashville and Morris School in Searcy, Ark. His education continued at Saint Bernard Preparatory School in Cullman, Ala., where he excelled scholastically and athletically in football, basketball, baseball, and swimming. He made many lifelong friends while a student at Saint Bernard and always held a special place in his heart for the education he obtained.

After high school, he attended George Peabody College in Nashville from 1956 - 1958. It was here that he met a fellow student, Bettye Lou Vance from Bell Buckle, and they married in September of 1959. The couple moved to Memphis where he attended the University of Tennessee Dental School. Upon graduation from dental school in June 1962, he served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, stationed in Stuttgart, Germany from 1963-1966.

John and Bettye returned to Shelbyville, Tenn., in 1966 and he began his private practice career and was also on staff at the Bedford County General Hospital. In 1976 he started a practice of his own and in 1980 opened a second location in Brentwood, Tenn. The family moved to Tellico Village in East Tennessee for his final endeavor to practice with his daughter, Angela, in 1996.

In all, "Doc" practiced dentistry for 63 years. He thoroughly enjoyed his profession and many beloved patients. He was famous for never meeting a stranger, always having a good story to tell as he performed his duties, and loved bringing a smile to others' faces.

Dr. Burns served his profession as a member of the American Dental Association, Tennessee Dental Association, Fourth District Dental Society - Council on Dental Care (Chairman 1975 and President 1978), Middle Tennessee Study Club, Governors Executive Committee on Dental Care serving Governor's Blanton and Alexander, and Second District Dental Society. He received the prestigious Tennessee Dental Association Fellowship Award in 1980. In 1981, he was a founding member of the Concerned Dental Professionals Committee now known as the Tennessee Dental Wellness Foundation. He also served his community via the Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce.

Jack loved the game of golf and was a lifelong avid fan of the University of Tennessee Volunteers and enjoyed sporting events in Knoxville and followed them throughout the country with his family and friends. He achieved his goal of watching his Volunteer Football team play at every Southeastern Conference Stadium and be crowned with a National Championship in the 1998 Fiesta Bowl.

He was preceded in death by his parents and son, William Michael.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Bettye, son John Gray Burns (Lisa Cox), daughter Dr. Angela Kathleen Burns, "Papa Doc's" grandchildren William and Megan Burns, sister Veronica Wauford, brother Leon Burns (Christie), and many nieces and nephews.

Arrangements for a mass and a celebration of Doctor John's life will be announced at a later date. The family would like to thank all the staff at Sacred Ground Hospice House in Knoxville for their compassionate care and peaceful transition to Heaven.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution made in his memory to the Burns Family Scholarship, which was established by the family to assist young men in need, at his beloved Saint Bernard Preparatory School, 1600 Saint Bernard Dr. SE, Cullman, Alabama 35033 or the Tennessee Dental Association Wellness Foundation.

Online condolences may be extended at rosefuneraltn.com.