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Christopher Burns, Sr.

unknown - October 25, 2013

Christopher Tormey Burns, Sr., loving father and grandfather and consummate storyteller, peacefully passed away Oct. 25, 2013. Tormey was born in Syracuse on Feb. 25, 1929, the son of Emmett J. and Loretta Tormey Burns. He served in the Korean War and, after graduating from LeMoyne College (1953), he founded Burns Brothers Builders with his brothers Emmett and Barnum. Tormey married the love of his life, Marianne Moran, in 1959 and together they raised their three children, Christopher, Kerry and John. They were communicants of St. Matthew’s Parish in East Syracuse, where Marianne was a second grade teacher.
Tormey had the good fortune of growing up with a large, loud and loyal Irish family. As a child he cherished his summers in Cazenovia with his extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins. After their marriage, he and Marianne summered with their family in Sandy Pond. Tormey was known as the family “Seanchaí” or storyteller. His recitations - both his original work and that of other famous writers and poets - were the highlight of every family gathering.
Tormey wrote every day and he encouraged others to tell their stories. He had the unique ability to capture moments and memories by scribbling them on any scrap of paper that he could find. It’s fair to say that at least 50 percent of his stories were true, though his grandchildren were known to ask, “How do you know when Pop is lying? That’s easy, his lips are moving!” He published his first book, “Let Me Tell You A Story,” a collection of his Irish tales in 2010 and he inspired every recipient of his book to “have fun with words” with his personal inscriptions.
Tormey also was a master woodworker. He built classic furniture for his friends and family and created and patented the “Hurlago” Irish walking stick.
Tormey was a loving and compassionate man who possessed overwhelming strength and determination when facing life’s challenges. He was a true and steadfast friend to all who knew him. His grandchildren were his pride and joy.
Tormey is survived by his daughter Kerry, her husband Doug Miller and their children Ryan and Kieran (KC); son Christopher II, his wife Pam, and their children, Christopher III, Jack, Riley and Maddie; son John Moran Burns, sister-in-law and brother-in-law Susan and Kenneth Rizzuto and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his wife, Marianne, his parents, brothers Emmett and Barnum, his sister Anne and his sisters-in-law Catherine Cassidy Burns and Mary Ellen Johnson Burns.
Calling hours: 4 to 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28, at Newell-Fay Manlius Chapel, 8171 Cazenovia Road (Route 92), Manlius. Mass of Christian burial: 11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29, at St. Ann’s Church, 104 Academy St., Manlius.

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