Joseph Vincent Burns, age 91, passed away peacefully on Saturday, August 28th at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, CT. Born, also at St. Vincent’s, on August 24, 1930, he was one of six beloved children of the late Joseph and Mary Burns.
Known as “Vinnie” or “Vin” by most, and then as “Joe” by others later in life, he graduated from Fairfield Prep in 1948 and then Fairfield University thereafter. He spent two years in Catholic Seminary training before deciding that he was meant to be a family man instead of a priest. He and his wife, Patricia Anne McQuaid, settled in Marlborough, CT, where they raised their two children, Judith and Joseph.
Vinnie worked for over 35 years as a high school English teacher at Bacon Academy in Colchester, CT, dedicating his professional life to the education of the young in his community. He was a wonderful teacher – kind, engaged, thoughtful and entertaining.
Vinnie loved his whole family immensely, had true lifelong friends and always made new friends quickly and easily. Above all, his children and his grandchildren were the apple of his eye. He is survived by his daughter Judith (Greg) Miller and son Dr. Joe (Becky) Burns, and his four adored grandchildren: Claire and Kevin Miller, and Brooklyn and Brady Burns. He is also survived by his sister and lifelong friend and scotch whisky companion and connoisseur, Millie Burns Bishop, as well as his extended family.
Vinnie was always fun to be around, honest as could be, and always interested in other people before himself. He could find the humor in every situation, especially those that poked fun at himself and elevated others. It was this sense of humor and Irish twinkle in his eye that made everyone want to sit next to “Poppy,” as his grandchildren called him.
Vinnie lived a life dedicated to integrity and Christianity. He was a lifelong educator, scholar, artist, writer and athlete. Some of his paintings can be found on display at the St. Ann Church in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport, CT. Vinnie was also an elected member of the Fairfield County Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008. He threw the first two no-hitters in Fairfield Prep school history as their star right-handed pitcher. His curveball was quite literally unhittable. Vinnie once threw batting practice to a team of young players back in the 1980s. Even then, not one of them could touch his curveball.
Baseball was always a passion. He loved to play the game and loved everything it represents. As a kid he was a faithful Brooklyn Dodgers fan, did paintings of his hero Jackie Robinson, and usually chose his preferred passcodes to be “1955,” the first year the Dodgers beat the New York Yankees in the World Series. After his Dodgers moved to the West Coast, he focused his baseball attention on rooting for two other teams: the Boston Red Sox and “whomever was playing against the NY Yankees.” For years, he even had a bumper sticker, “I love New York, too … it’s just the Yankees I hate!” Vinnie pulled for the underdog, for the Davids to beat the Goliaths, for the little guy to finally win one just one for the Gipper. He did it in sports, and he did it in life.
In lieu of flowers charitable contributions may be made to Fairfield College Preparatory School, 1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield, CT 06824. For assistance making a donation, please contact the Development Office at Fairfield Prep email@example.com.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 11 at 10:00 am at the St. Ann Church at 481 Brewster St., Bridgeport, CT, the church which proudly displays his artwork. A reception will follow at The Port 5 Naval Veterans, 69 Brewster Street, Bridgeport, CT 06605.
Fairfield College Preparatory School
1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield CT 06824