“What if the space be long and wide,
That parts us from our brother’s side
A soul-joined chain unites our band,
And memory links us had in hand.”
(Phi Gamma Delta fraternity song)
Omega Mu Voices
Michael F. “Bunny” Burns,
Timothy A. Ames
Omega Mu, 1980
I was honored when the Burns family asked me to say a few words about our friend Mike. We all have so many wonderful memories of our time with Mike. Hopefully, my tribute, which I am going to call “Bunny Tales and Beyond” will stir some memories in all of you. I met Mike at UMO in 1978. I was a new pledge and he was a brother at our fraternity. We instantly became friends and he would become my big brother. Back then he was known as “Bunny”, and the nickname fit him well. He was always jumping around; he could not sit still. I can picture him running up the fraternity house stairs five at a time. Then he would tumble back down the length of the same staircase after a staged fight with Eric Knudsen.
1977-1978 group photo.
Eric Knudsen and Mike Burns
As a fraternity brother “Bunny” was a good friend, a good listener, and endless entertainment. Whether it was cramming people into his Saab 90, having bottle rocket fights, hanging upside down from a tree limb like a trophy deer, or climbing on a dormitory ledge to spy through the window on unsuspecting fraternity brothers, “Bunny” did everything at full speed.
Mike Burns, University of Maine Athlete
A short while after college, as fate would have it, Bunny landed in Waterville, which was just a short distance from where I was living. The only difference now was we had to start calling him Mike. He did not think the female population would be impressed by the name “Bunny”. This from a guy who collected empty Antonio pizza boxes and had no furniture. For quite some time, he could not invite anybody over for dinner because he did not have a table and chairs.
Living in Waterville, it did not take long for Mike to start gathering a whole new group of friends. His endless energy and quick wit made for many good times. Mike always made sure that everybody was included and Mike always made us laugh, whether it was showing off the unlimited potential of those legs, goofing on himself with almost anything as a prop, blowing up marshmallows in the microwave, or entertaining us with his vast knowledge of almost useless trivia. He made us laugh. Most of us here probably laughed out hardest with Mike. That mischievous little gleam in his eye is something I will never forget.
The other night, Ralph said that Mike was his best friend. There was a time in my my life life when Mike was my best friend, and I know that there are quite a few of you out there who could say the same thing: Peter Bergh, Charlie Foote, Jim Mayo, John Campbell, Denise, Claire, Bill Mayo, and his brother Paul. This list could go on and on. Mike knew what it took to be a good friend and that friendship is what I will remember most.
When you go to the gathering after the service today, look at the pictures, listen to a story, jog your memory, tell your favorite Mike Story, and laugh again because “Bunny” would want you to.
Peter Bergh and Charlie Foote
Mike Burns and Tim Ames
Eric R. Knudsen
Omega Mu, 1979
More Bunny Tales
Let’s see. Fake fights in the stairwell on 11-2 nights. Girls had to use the second floor bathroom. Bunny would sprint up the stairs yelling he was going to kill me. I would fake a right to his jaw and he would tumble down the stairs, bounce off the wall and then tumble down the second set of stairs. The girls would scream; it never got old. Hanging by his feet on the game pole next to Bobby’s deer. Putting mustard on the receiver of the kitchen phone and calling it from the library, and then listening to Bill Horr scream as he chased us through the house.
Driving his Saab around campus with me running the pedals, Bunny steering from the middle, and someone in the passenger seat shifting. Pretty sure that I would have gotten a ticket. Backing said Saab up the driveway about 30 miles an hour and then performing the power slide tactical evasive maneuver without scrubbing any speed then refusing to try it with my vehicle.
Chip Chapman, ’82