Dennis M Burns

March 6, 1953February 3, 2019
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Dennis Burns, 65, of Ormond Beach, President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties, passed away Sunday February 3, 2019. It was always the aspiration of Dennis to lead a local United Way. He was the President/CEO of the United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties since November 2015 and his leadership was responsible for the implementation of the Community Impact model locally. Dennis grew up in Hornell, New York and was very proud of his small town beginnings. He attended Hornell High School and moved to the Central Florida community to attend the University of Central Florida. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications. Dennis worked for the Orlando Sentinel before completing a stint as a Loaned Executive for the Heart of Florida United Way in Orlando, Fla. Following that time, he joined the Heart of Florida United Way full-time in Resource Development and began his 20+ year career with the team. In 2015, he joined the United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties as the President/CEO and in addition to the successful implementation of Community Impact, he was also responsible for the increased advocacy of the ALICE population, and increasing the community’s engagement with United Way. Dennis was an incredible leader that cared deeply for his local community. He believed in the mission of United Way and in seeing a more prosperous life for all. Dennis was involved on many local boards and committees including: Flagler Cares, Commission on Homelessness for Volusia & Flagler Counties, One Voice for Volusia and VMA Education Committee. He was a member of the Daytona Beach Rotary and a graduate of Leadership Daytona. Dennis is survived by his wife of 41 years, Mary Burns, and their three children; Cameron Robert Burns, Carlyn (Ryan) Linker and Charisse (Adam) Bitner; sisters, Margaret Burns and Roberta (Farris) Riggsbee; brother, David Burns; grandchildren, Kelsey and Kyle Linker and Emma and Hailey Bitner and several nieces and nephews. His parents and brothers Eugene and Thomas Burns predeceased him. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the United Way of Volusia/Flagler County at . Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at


  • Celebration of Life Memorial Service Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Dennis M Burns

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Virginia Poe

February 14, 2019

To all the Burns Family, I was so sorry to read Dennis' obituary in the Orlando Sentinel. My heart goes out to you all. Though it has been several years since I saw Dennis, he and I have known each other for over 40 years. We were both younger when we met through my friendship with his brother, Gene. Time has certainly gone by. You are in my prayers. May God hold you in the palm of His hand. May he comfort you all. Fondly, Virginia Poe

Francine Burns

February 11, 2019

Mary Sue, I am SO very sorry for your loss of Dennis. I will always remember him as a good, kind-hearted family man. At Easter or Thanksgiving one year, you both shared a funny memory snow skiing and also, a white-water rafting story. Lots of laughs that night! I also remember the fun we had at Sea World with United Way when Emma was just a toddler.
Dennis was easy to talk to, and we both were trying to figure out if we were somehow related. I told him I would bring my genealogy book of the Burns Family, and we could compare notes. I regret that we never got around to it!
Every day is truly a gift, and I know you treasure all the memories over the years. The tribute movie is a beautiful picture story of Dennis, his family and friends. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Charisse, Cameron and ALL of the family! “Look to the Lord and His strength. Seek His face always.”
1 Chronicles 16:11.
Love and prayers, Fran Burns

Leslie King

February 11, 2019

It has been my honor for more than 20 years to call Dennis friend. Like so many others, it was United Way that brought us together and we became friends almost instantaneously. Dennis attracted people to him and I was no exception. Cameron once said his dad never met anyone he didn't like, but I think we could also say that everyone Dennis met liked him. Some of my favorite memories center around Dennis laughing and telling stories and I could not help but laugh along with him. Whether he was telling stories about the days he worked at the sporting goods store, sharing stories of adventures with his family, or just recounting a daily event we were all captivated.

Some of the lessons I learned from Dennis include:
-treat the CEO with the same respect as the custodian
-build bridges instead of silos
-laughter can solve just about every problem

All of us are much better people because we knew him and I will forever be in his debt.

Keep laughing until we see each other again. I can't wait to hear all of those wonderful stories.

Jim "Digger" Dagon

February 11, 2019

Without a doubt, Chooch was one of my oldest & dearest friends. I first met Chooch in 7th grade (some 52 years ago). I think that we hit it off so well because we both had such a goofy and immature sense of humor. Everything Chooch said struck me funny!

Throughout our school years, Dennis would whisper something extremely funny and I would feel the need to say it out loud and share it with the entire class. Naturally, I would get in trouble with the teacher every time. I always stole his jokes. We were both "class clowns" but Chooch was smart enough not to get into trouble.

My wife, Patty, and I host a Class of '71 reunion every year and we were honored every year that Chooch & Mary not only attended, but stayed at our cottage. We were so happy to see them every year.

A few years ago, Chooch told me that he wasn't planning on drinking any beer at the reunion, but his doctor told him that he wasn't getting enough alcohol. So, under doctor's orders, he made sure that he didn't go thirsty!!!!

Since 7th grade, Chooch & I would sing a certain song whenever we got together. So, my dear friend, here goes: "L" is for the way you look at me.............

Anyways, I will miss him. I can't think of Chooch without smiling!!

Jimmy Dagon
Classmate & Friend
Class of '71

Mary Sopko

February 10, 2019

My dear friend, Mary. We are so sorry for your loss. You and Dennis were there for Steve and I before, during and after our wedding. You and Dennis welcomed us into your hearts and home. Your love is endless. Dennis was a kind, giving man. Please know we are thinking of you and your family. With love.....Steve and Mary Sopko

Tim & Lecia Lynn

February 9, 2019

We were so, so saddened when we heard this about Dennis. Our deepest condolences from our family to yours. Prayers and Love to all!!!

Cheryl and Tom Tichacek

February 8, 2019

Although we haven’t seen Dennis in several years, the first funny memory was finally getting him on the dance floor with the song “Love Shack” then he was all warmed up and kept dancing- Mary you were smiling the whole time! All those times I crashed at your house and coffee was always ready in the morning even though he never drank it. He was a wonderful person, caring and loving.

Mary Ann Eicher

February 8, 2019

I grew up with Dennis and I have many fond memories of him at St. Ann's School. I saw him again through the years at the '71 class reunions and got to meet his wife Mary. My condolences to Mary and his family and to those who knew him best. Rest in Peace.

Michael Kint

February 8, 2019

On behalf of the United Way of Indian River County I want to express our deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences to Dennis's family and the staff and volunteers at United Way of Volusia-Flager. Dennis was a wonderful colleague who embodied the essence of Living United in all he did. We are missing him.

Yvette Ferrell

February 7, 2019