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July 29, 2014

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Jerry Burns was editor of The Blowing Rocket from 1965 to 2009.
File photo

A resolution declaring June 18 as Jerry Burns Day in Blowing Rock

Whereas, Jerry Burns was born in Blowing Rock on June 18, 1940: and

Whereas, Jerry Burns loved Blowing Rock and was proud to share his hometown with everyone with whom he crossed paths; and

Whereas, Jerry Burns was one of Blowing Rock’s strongest advocates for our special community and its small town atmosphere; and

Whereas, Jerry Burns was editor and chief writer for The Blowing Rocket from 1965 to 2009, and served as the town’s official photographer; and

Whereas, Jerry Burns served Blowing Rock citizens and readers of The Blowing Rocket by reporting on news and community events with words that bound the community together; and

Whereas, Jerry Burns, known as “Mr. Blowing Rock,” was one of Blowing Rock’s greatest historians, recalling days gone by with his articles in The Blowing Rocket; and 

Whereas Jerry Burns fulfilled his duty to country through his service in the United States Navy in the early 1960s; and 

Whereas, Jerry Burns, in addition to serving as a Blowing Rock town councilman, also served the Blowing Rock community as a member of the following religious and civic organizations: Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation board, Blowing Rock Historical Society board, Rumple Presbyterian Church, Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce, Blowing Rock Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Blowing Rock Rotary Club, Blowing Rock ABC board, Blowing Rock Hospital board, Blowing Rock Stage Company, Hayes Performing Arts Center board, Edgewood Cottage Restoration Committee, and Mitford Days Planning Committee; and

Whereas, in 2009, Jerry Burns received from North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award in recognition of his contributions to Blowing Rock and to North Carolina.

Now, therefore, be it resolved the Blowing Rock Town Council hereby establishes June 18 of each year as “Jerry Burns Day” in Blowing Rock. 

Adopted this 8th day of May, 2012.

J.B. Lawrence, mayor
Sharon H. Greene, town clerk

Originally published: 2012-06-21 11:20:54
Last modified: 2012-06-21 11:23:56

Jerry Burns Day recalls contributions of former editor

Friends and family of the late Jerry Burns gathered Monday afternoon at Edgewood Cottage in Blowing Rock for a special birthday party. 

The first “Jerry Burns Day” was celebrated with stories, a reading of the town’s new resolution declaring June 18 as a day to be kept in his honor and a meal of lemonade and pound cake. 

Burns, the editor of The Blowing Rocket from 1965 to 2009, died after a short battle with cancer in 2010. 

Nicknamed “Mr. Blowing Rock,” Burns lived in downtown Blowing Rock his entire life, except for a short period in the early 1960s when he served in the U.S. Navy. 

“When Jerry was dying, we all got together to honor him and it was sad,” said Ginny Stevens, a family friend and a member of the Blowing Rock Historical Society. “Today is supposed to be fun.” 

“Jerry was a tireless advocate for Blowing Rock, he was always on our team,” said Blowing Rock Mayor J.B. Lawrence. “He was always pulling for his hometown and all the things he did, he did for all of us. He is sorely missed.” 

Doug Pegram, current president of the Blowing Rock Historical Society, read a piece from The Blowing Rocket written by Burns in 2000. 

The piece, titled “The Marble Tree,” described an old maple tree behind Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church. Burns remembered fondly of how his dad and some of the other fathers would plant shooting marbles around the base of the tree and in the ground near the tree. They told their rowdy sons that if they were quiet and diligent, they could find the marbles that the tree would give. 

It was a way of keeping the rambunctious youngsters busy and quiet during the Sunday service at Rumple. 

“I’ve still got my marbles from childhood,” read Pegram from Burns’ article. “Some are nicked a bit and others have turned milky around the cat’s eye, but I’ve still got them there in a big bowl in the center of the bookshelf in the den.” 

“And dad, I still consider them among my most favorite possessions,” the article read. “Every once in a while I’ll grab a couple of them and wedge one into the knuckle of my thumb and tip my first finger and then flip my thumb to see if I can knock one out of the circle and leave my ‘shooter’ spinning in place, ready for the next shot. (You know, my aim is still true and the only problem was when my ‘shooter’ hit its target, the target marble shattered into pieces.)

“So, if you park in Rumple’s parking lot on Wallingford and you walk by that old maple on the way into church, please be reverent and quiet. After all, there might be marbles on the bud and it would be a shame to deny some lad from discovering. …”  

During the celebration, attendees were allowed the privilege of taking one of Burns’ marbles home with them. 

“I keep trying to think of what Jerry would say about all of this,” said Janice Burns, Jerry’s widow. “I think he would’ve said, ‘Absolutely not.’ But he loved Ginny and would’ve done anything for her, so I’m sure he would’ve agreed to do it for her.” 

“But I think Jerry would’ve wanted to use this day as a way of honoring the families of this town, the places and the organizations that he so loved. He would’ve wanted us to think about other people. That’s what he was all about,” she said.
For more information and stories, see The Blowing Rocket.

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