Murphy Funeral Homes


Rosemary E. Burns

Play Tribute Movie

Rosemary “Dolly” Burns, 103, beloved wife of the late Robert J Burns, mother of Ellen Burns of Charlottesville, VA and Brian (Marie) Burns of McLean, VA; grandmother of Daniel and Nicole Burns, aunt, great-aunt, great-great-aunt, and dear friend, died April 16, 2021.

Rosemary was born in Manitowoc, WI, daughter of the late Edward & Ellen Crowe, sister of the late Harold (Laura) Crowe, William (Dolores) Crowe & Ellen (Lou) Fandrick, all of Wisconsin. She loved school, especially math, being a Girl Guide, and hanging out with her siblings on the shores of Lake Michigan.

She attended Milwaukee State Teachers College, and taught primary school, before joining the USO during World War II, and then earned her Masters Degree in Social Work from Catholic University. In the early 1960s, she and her husband, Bob, were instrumental in forming the first Montessori school in the Washington, DC area, then named St. Aidan’s Montessori (now Aidan Montessori). In the late 1960s, she returned to school to study Library Science, and became the school librarian for St. James Catholic School in Falls Church, VA, from where she retired. In honor of her retirement, the library at the school was named the Rosemary Burns Memorial Library.

One of her lifelong passions was being involved with the Dominican Third Order, and she served as prior of her chapter, as did her husband before his death. Rosemary also maintained ties to St. John the Beloved Catholic Church in McLean, VA, where, for over 50 years, she had been a school volunteer, a thrift shop volunteer and served on the Altar Committee. In her later years, she was a devoted member of the Missionhurst community in Arlington, VA, attending daily mass and cherishing the wonderful community of priests and those who attended.

Never one to give up the chance to enjoy the outdoors, she pursued gardening as a passion, and golf as a diversion, and far-flung travel adventures kept her interested and young at heart. Bridge with her friends was partly for the game, but mostly for the friends; and having the family over for dinner made her the happiest.

In her last decade of life, she was lovingly and devotedly cared for by Agnes Nazareth and her family, and Yolanda Garcia. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association / or to Missionhurst CICM /

A memorial Mass in honor of Rosemary’s life will be held at a future date at Missionhurst in Arlington, VA in light of the current health pandemic.

A visitation will be held on Thursday, April 22nd at Murphy Funeral Home in Falls Church, VA from 6 to 8 PM. A Graveside service will be held on Friday, April 23rd at Fairfax Memorial Park at 10 AM. Both services can be attended via livestream by clicking the "Join Livestream" on their respective services below during the times listed.


  • Celebration of Life Visitation

    Thursday, April 22, 2021


  • Graveside Service

    Friday, April 23, 2021



Rosemary E. Burns

have a memory or condolence to add?

Elena Alcedo

April 23, 2021

I will always remember Great Aunt Dolly and the wonderful times we spent together. She really stepped up after my grandmother, her sister Ellen passed away when I was young as a fill in grandmother. One of my favorite memories was when myself, Dolly, my mom (her niece) and Ellen went to Disney World together as my graduation present from high school and she out paced us all in 90+ degree heat. She was a wonderful and inspiring woman who I am proud to call my Great Aunt. May you rest in peace Dolly, I will always remember you fondly and thank you for helping me in my faith and devotion to volunteer work, much love Elena.

Martha sta

April 22, 2021

As a member of the Missionhurst community, Rosemary was loved by all. Her presence inspired others in so many ways. The sage advice she dispersed,always with humor, and her enduring faith inspired all who knew her.
Always present at the Missionhurst First Friday Mass and luncheons which supported the missions, she was an example of a true follower of Christ.
She was a truly unique individual.
Martha Stay

Chuck Mayhew

April 20, 2021

Some years ago, I recall spotting Rosemary in Giant. She was talking to a gentleman who I did not know. I approached to say hello to her and she introduced me to said gentleman. The conversation between he and I quickly became praise
and how much we, both, loved Rosemary. Well, she interrupted and joked, "I don't know what you guys want but I don't have any money". Such a Great Lady!

Eileen Denney

April 20, 2021

My dear Aunt Rosemary,
Always a steady and calm presence with her soft laughter and light hearted nature.

Thanks for all those Holiday Family dinners ( for 20 or more guests), the hand made doll clothes, and the endless trips to the pool. ... But especially for your
sage advice and encouragement.

I feel very blessed to be in your circle these many years.

Your loving niece,

Beth Alcedo

April 19, 2021

I have so many sweet poignant memories of Dolly, my very favorite aunt. I treasured that I could talk with her about many issues that bothered me, especially around my spiritual life. We also had fun together; I’m thinking of the time when I flew out to visit her and together we flew to her condo on the ocean in South Carolina for a nice getaway. Dolly was a long time bridge player and I had recently begun learning the game. I’d brought my iPad along and suggested we play together on it. Well, she was nothing short of flabbergasted at this technology and declared this was nothing short of a miracle! I chuckled all the way there as we played and she exclaimed how miraculous this was in between correcting my mistakes.