William Leo Burns

February 6, 1943 - October 11, 2004

WILLIAM LEO "BILL" BURNS, 61, passed away in Little Rock, Ark., on Monday, October 11, 2004, of pancreatic cancer, which was diagnosed in March 2002. He was born in El Dorado, Ark., on February 6, 1943. Bill graduated from El Dorado High School and attended the University of Arkansas for several years. He graduated with distinction from the University of New Mexico in 1972. The UNM School of Architecture honored him with its Distinguished Alumni award in 1994. Bill was a licensed architect in multiple states, served in the USAF, and was a Vietnam veteran.

In 1974, Bill was one of the founding partners of the Burns/Peters Group of Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 1985 he formed BPLW Architects & Engineers, with offices in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. He served as the president and CEO and later as chairman of the board until his recent retirement. His firm of more than 100 employees has practiced architecture throughout the country for nearly 40 years. He is the architect for many significant structures, including the Albuquerque International Airport and most recently two new federal courthouses to be built in El Paso, Texas, and Las Cruces, N.M. Early in his career he received accolades from both Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona and Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico for his pioneering work in solar design.

He and his wife of 25 years, Carman Lavender, recently relocated to Little Rock. A true Arkansas native, his love for his home state transcended the miles. A Red Hog always on his desk and in his heart.

 He was preceded in death by his father, Leo Alfred Burns, and brother, James Winston Burns. He is survived by his wife, Carman Lavender, nee Carman Holder; daughters — Whitney Leigh Burns of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Ann-Marie Burns of New York; son — Marc Lavender and wife Minerva and their children, Jamie Marie Lavender and Jared Mitchell Lavender, of Mesa Arizona; mother, Evalena Burns of Little Rock; sister — Mary Kathryn Boyett and husband Bruce and their sons, Matthew and Christopher, of Little Rock; brother — Thomas Eugene Burns and his wife Robin and their sons, Mark and Scott, of Longview, Texas; and brother — Robert Earl Burns and his son Michael and daughter-in-law Blake of Little Rock. He will be missed by his wife and family and by hundreds of employees, clients and friends to whom Bill gave so much.

Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. Friday, October 15, 2004, at the Ruebel Funeral Home, 6313 W. Markham St., Little Rock, Ark. 72205. Burial immediately following at Pinecrest Memorial Park, Alexander, Ark.

A memorial service will be held on Monday, Oct. 18, 2004, at the Chelwood Christian Reformed Church at 2200 Chelwood Blvd. NE., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87112. The Rev. Ronald Cok of Albuquerque, New Mexico, will lead both services. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in remembrance of Bill Burns to your local American Cancer Society.

Bill wrote 05/13/2003 - What a super web-site! It brought a smile to my face seeing my Hugh Goodwin first grade class photograph. It's also sobering to see how many of our graduating classmates have deceased. I had my scare last year with pancreatic cancer. I had surgery, and several months of chemo and radiation treatments and am now fully recovered. I am still working as an architect and in the process of designing two new U.S.Courthouses, one in El Paso, Texas, and the other in Las Cruces, New Mexico. These will be my last major projects, because I am going to retire on December 31,2007 and relocate to Little Rock. I have a family reunion previously scheduled for the July 4th weekend, and therefore will not be able to attend the EHS Reunion. However, keep me informed of the next one, because I want to be there.