Adam Nicholas Burns
January 08, 1987 - December 02, 2022
Adam Nicholas Burns was born on January 8, 1987, in Spencer, IA to Dennis and Julee (Birdsall) Burns. He was baptized on February 1, 1987 and later confirmed his faith on March 27, 2003 at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Hartley, IA. At the age of 35, Adam was called Home on December 2, 2022, as a real hero to many.
In high school, he was involved in Student Council, National Honor Society, Spanish National Society, and was active in football, basketball, golf, baseball, choir, show choir, school plays, and large group speech. In 2005, he graduated from Hartley Melvin Sanborn High School as the salutatorian of his class.
After graduation, Adam attended the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, IA. Adam's charismatic personality acquired even more lifelong friends. During his college years, he was a Student Alumni Ambassador, played in intramurals, was on Pro-Board, and was an active member of St. Steven the Witness Catholic Student Center. He graduated in 2009, with a degree in secondary education and a coaching endorsement.
In August of 2010, Adam started an exemplary career in Denison, IA as a high school math teacher. Adam took so much pride in being a teacher and coach; it was his lifelong dream. Helping others was always at the forefront of who Adam was. He went out of his way every day to offer an encouraging word, a genuinely kind gesture, to get students to laugh, and to push them to their best. He always made sure his students and athletes were okay and knew he cared for them. He taught more than just math, more importantly he taught life lessons to these kids, always wanting them to be the best versions of themselves. He was truly an example to live by.
It was Adam's first in-service day in the high school library that he would meet his forever love. It was Denison and golf that brought these two together. Adam and Katie were engaged in April of 2011, and were united in marriage 7 months later on November 19, 2011. Their marriage was built with God at the center. The two built a beautiful life together and their love was truly something special and rare. They were blessed with two beautiful girls, Kennisyn (9) and Kirslyn (7) who were his greatest pride and joy.
In April of 2021, Adam was diagnosed with stage 4 Glioblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer. He underwent surgery, radiation, and months of chemotherapy before the cancer was stable on MRI scans. During his treatments, it was important to Adam that he kept teaching and continuing his coaching assignments, never even missing a practice. Then, 13 months after his original diagnosis, Adam's GBM returned, but in an entirely new location, the cerebellum. This time Adam underwent more radiation and chemo. With this experience, it pushed him harder to COMPETE - Cancer did not slow Adam, Katie, or the girls down.
Anyone who knows the Burns family knows they are always "on the go". Whether it be attending school and community events, taking family trips, vacationing with friends, or traveling to see family members, doing these things as a family was special to Adam's heart. Every other winter, Adam and Katie would take special couples vacations with their close friends. In the Summer of 2021, following his diagnosis, they took the girls on two important family trips; Florida to see the ocean, and Branson, Missouri, where they accomplished playing golf at Payne's Valley as a family of four, one of Adam's dreams. He was also able to go to Denver with close friends to see his beloved Broncos get a victory at Mile High Stadium. In the winter of 2021, they were also able to travel on their regular couples vacation to Arizona and to finally take a Sponder family trip to California to spend time with Katie's parents. Adam was the husband who would always help to hear all sides, pull together thoughtful and romantic surprises for Katie and the girls, nudge to take these memorable trips, and so much more. He was the father that pushed through the pain of cancer treatments to do what he needed for his little girls. He loved playing catch in the yard, shooting baskets in the driveway, and pitching for batting practice. He wanted the best for his family and never made a decision without considering what would be best for the people around him.
Adam is an example of a faithful and loving man. He surpassed any goal set and would tackle every obstacle. He was encouraging, supportive, honest, caring, and could make anyone in the room laugh. He was a loyal friend who would show up the moment you called and always gave advice when you needed it. He never turned down an opportunity to gather with friends or family and cherished every moment of it.
Through Adam's love of helping others, he and Katie started a non-profit called Compete For A Cure. From all the outpouring support and love they have received from everyone; their goal is to be able to help other families going through the same battles. Adam walked into many people's lives and he never walked out. In just 35 years, he created a beautiful family and a massive community. He has lived big and inspired others around him to have an endearing and fighting spirit.
We ask that everyone that knows our beloved Adam to write a story and share pictures or videos of him. We'll be compiling the stories for Kennisyn and Kirslyn so they'll always be able to read about their daddy.
Adam is survived by his wife, Katie Burns of Denison; two daughters, Kennisyn and Kirslyn Burns of Denison; parents, Dennis and Julee Burns of Hartley, IA; siblings: Ryan (Dawn) Burns of Williamsburg, IA and children Dylan and Austin; Jon (Libby) Burns of Brandon, SD and children Jackson, Kenzi, and Iken; Nicole (Justin) Vinzant of Sioux Falls, SD and their children Dylan, Sydney, and Cameron; special cousin Matt (Molly) Conlon and children James and Isabel; father and mother-in-law, Larry and Kathy Sponder of Le Mars IA; sister-in-law, Amy (Adam) Schmidt of Le Mars, IA and children Kynlee, Rylann, and Aynslee; sister-in-law, Lindsey (Nathan) Schroeder of Le Mars, IA and children Slayton, Easton, Sutton, and Gaston; many special aunts, uncles, cousins, and close friends.
He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Gale and Jessie Birdsall, Robert and Norma Jean Burns; step-Grandmother, Myrna "Babe" Burns; and uncles, Jim Conlon and Tom Watt.
Visitation with Family Greeting Friends will be from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with a Rosary at 3:30 p.m. and Prayer Service at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7, 2022 at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Denison. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 8, 2022 also at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Denison. Private Family Burial will be in St. Rose of Lima Catholic Cemetery in Denison. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Adam Burns Family for his children's future education fund, his Compete for a Cure foundation, and the creation of an annual Denison High School scholarship in his name.
Livestreaming of Adam's Mass of Christian Burial will be available on Thursday, December 8, 2022 at the Huebner Funeral Home Facebook page at 2:00 p.m. https://www.facebook.com/huebnerfuneralhome