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Former editor, missionary Horace Burns dead at 85

WAGONER, Okla. (BP)–Horace Burns, a former editor of the Baptist New Mexican newsjournal and former Southern Baptist missionary, died Aug. 8 at the age of 85.

Burns, who was residing with his wife, Elizabeth, in Wagoner, Okla., underwent gall bladder surgery Aug. 7. Family members and friends reported that while the surgery appeared to go well, he died less than 24 hours later.

Burns served as editor of the Baptist New Mexican on two different occasions — from January 1940 to December 1943 and February 1959 to November 1966 — for a total of almost 12 years.

Burns first came to New Mexico in 1938 to pastor churches in Santa Rosa and Logan at the same time. Having grown up in a print shop, he was enlisted to set up the Baptist Convention of New Mexico’s first print shop, which he managed for one year before being given the additional responsibility of editing the state paper. He also preached on ranches near Cuervo and pastored the church in Los Lunas.

In January 1944, Burns accepted a pastorate in Vancouver, Wash. For most of the next 15 years, he served as a pastor and missionary in the Northwest and in western Canada and was instrumental in establishing many of the leading churches and associations in the region. He also served as associate editor of the Baptist Standard, the state paper of Texas Baptists, from 1946-48.

Burns returned to New Mexico in 1959 from Portland, Ore., where he had been superintendent of missions for the Northwest Baptist Convention. In addition to publishing New Mexico Baptists’ state paper, he served as an interim pastor of several churches in the state. Burns left New Mexico in 1966 to assume the pastorate of a church in Seattle and later in Vancouver.

Subsequent years of ministry included serving with his wife as Southern Baptist missionaries to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Africa, from 1973-80, where he was director of the Baptist publishing house and area evangelist in Bulawaya. The Burnses had other involvements in other international and North American mission opportunities into the late ’90s.

A graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Burns served as a trustee of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary and California Baptist College.

Rosalea Koon, the Baptist New Mexican’s associate editor during Burns’ second term as BNM editor, told the Baptist New Mexican, “Mr. Burns knew the print shop from A-Z. I never heard him say anything unkind about anyone or any church. He was a wonderful man.”

A memorial service is scheduled for Aug. 11 at First Baptist Church, Wagoner. Survivors include his wife, Elizabeth; two sons, Richard of Lakewood, Colo., and Don of Wagoner; and five grandchildren.

The family requests memorial contributions be designated for the Bulgarian Missions Fund at First Baptist Church, 401 NE 2nd St., Wagoner, OK 74467-4413.
Mark Kelly contributed to this article.

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