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William P. Burns

William P. Burns

William Patrick Burns, “Sweet Ol Bill” age 91,  of Menomonie, died peacefully at home on Thursday December 10, 2020 surrounded by his family.

Bill was born October 26, 1929 in LaCrosse, WI to Joseph and Alice (Scanlon) Burns.  Bill graduated from Aquinas High School in 1946 and then attended and graduated from theUniversity of Wisconsin-LaCrosse with a couple of interruptions courtesy of the U.S. Army and the  Korean War.   He then obtained his Masters Degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. 

Bill was a seasonal Park Ranger at Glacier National Park.   It was there where he met the love of his life, Rose Farrington.  They were married June 14, 1958 in Edina, MN .In 1957 Bill began his teaching and coaching career at UW Milwaukee and eventually moved on to UW-Stevens Point before settling in Menomonie in 1971 where he was hired as the Athletic Director at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.    He continued his career in the Athletic department as a Coach, teacher and administrator.    His joy of interacting with students allowed him to touch many lives.

Bill was known for his sweet disposition, his mischievous sense of humor, and an undying love for his family.  He was dedicated to his Catholic faith and served as a lector and member of the church choir for almost 50 years.    Bill enjoyed being a High School referee for many years and the relationships he forged were numerous and long lasting.  He was also known to play a little golf where he mastered the “short game” that afforded him the opportunity to collect a few quarters along the way.          

Bill and Rosie enjoyed wintering in Gulf Shores, AL where they spend time with old and new friends.  Their winter excursion created a family holiday right before their departure known as ThanksMas where gifts were exchanged, food consumed and Bill was famous for answering the question of “When are you leaving for Gulf Shores?” with  “As soon you leave here!”

Bill is survived by his wife, Rosie, his children, Tim (Janet), Mike (Carla), Barb (Mike) Rosas, Dan

(Andi), Patty (Jonathan) Akers; 13 grandchildren, Erin, Brett, Brittany (Shea), Michelle (Jack),

Nicole, Ellie, Katie (Wyatt), Sam, Claire, Alyson, Rachel, Jordan, Patrick, one great grandson Zaveyae, several nieces, nephews, other relatives, and many friends..

He is preceded in death by his parents, his son Bill, three brothers, Tom, Larry and Jim.

Due to Covid 19, private family services will be held at 11:00 AM Tuesday December 15, 2020 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Menomonie with Revs. John Mano and Tom Krieg officiating. The funeral service will be Live Streamed on the Rhiel Funeral Home Facebook page .​ Burial will be at a later date in the church cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, Memorials may be given in Bill’s name to UW Stout Athletics, St. Joseph's Catholic Church or a charity of your choice.


  1. Art Plautz

    My sincerest condolences to the Burns family. Coach Burns was a great football coach, golfer and racquet ball player. He taught me any number of lessons on each topic! What I will remember him most for is his kind heart. I am blessed to have known him. Rest in peace, Coach.

  2. Pat Petrie/ Kurth

    My condolences go out to Rosie and family. I was unfortunate not to have know Bill very well, however I have always heard of his wonderful accomplishments . Seems like he was a friend to all! My husband, Terry, was so fond of him as they spent many moments together. My heart goes out to Rosie---she will spend many happy days recalling all the many memories11

  3. Jeff Hayes

    Coach Burns has touched my life along with so many others. He was kind, generous, funny and a true mentor. I know I am a better person today because of him. Thoughts and prayers!

    RIP Coach!

  4. Lois Sipple

    Dear Rosie and family, My love and prayers are with you at this time. So sorry to hear about Bill's passing. Lois Sipple

  5. John c Heinemeyer

    Gloriann and I extend Rosie and Family our heartfelt sympathy. We wonderful memories of our times with Bill and Rosie.

  6. James Richard Lawrence

    Condolences to whole wonderful Burns Family. I will always remember the special times with Sweet Old Bill and forever will be tell stories about the times we had together. Prayers!

  7. Tom and Deb Sinz

    Rosie and Family:
    Bill has left a remarkable legacy and we feel so blessed to have known him. Love and prayers.

  8. Gary and Suzy Wilson

    Such a wonderful man.
    May you RIP sir.
    Suzy and I send our condolences to Rose, Burnsie and the entire family.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with each of you.

  9. Dawn Wills

    So sorry for your loss Janet. Your dad sounds amazing and I remember how close you are with your family. Prayers are being sent your way. ????????????
    Dawn W

  10. Eddie Connie Andrist

    The BEST of the BEST!!!!!! All that knew him were blessed. RIP my friend and enjoy Heaven. The Lord is getting a GREAT ONE.

  11. Gail & Phil Fieber

    Rosie & family,
    Our sincere condolences to you. Bill touched so many hearts and lives as an educator, coach, AD, friend and neighbor.
    Our love and prayers,
    Phil & Gail Fieber

  12. Tom Bilse

    My sympathy to Rosie and family. Bill was a really nice and friendly man. I mostly saw him at church and his comments always made me smile. I am very confident Bill is in a good place. RIP Sweet old Bill!

  13. Terry Petrie

    I have known Sweet Old Bill for 49 years. He was our Athletic Director at UW Stout. I also coached football with Bill for 8 years. I have 3 phone numbers memorized. Mine, my wife’s and Bill Burns. We played hundreds of rounds of golf together. Bill was a master around the green. He could chip and putt with anyone. Many quarters went his way. One of his saying was ( Its not the arrow it’s the Indian). My last round with Rosie and Bill was in late September at the Country Club. Rest In Peace my friend and no U don’t get any strokes even if’s in HEAVEN????????️‍♂️

  14. Eric Pierce

    Dear Mrs. Burns and Family,
    I was saddened to learn of the passing of Coach Burns. Please know that I'm thinking of you all during this difficult time. For me, it's really a time to reflect on a life well lived - about a good man, brother, uncle, husband, father, grandfather, leader of young people(coach/teacher) and to one of the most admired short games in golf !!
    With warm regards,
    Eric Pierce

  15. Kathryn E Stewart

    So sorry to hear this news. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  16. Craig & Sara Anderson

    Sending the entire Burns family our deepest sympathies. What a legacy Bill has left. We were proud to know him, and he will be missed by all that knew him.

  17. Mark and Sandy Beighley

    We know we can't be with you at this time but know that you are being prayed for. We love you all. Mark and Sandy

  18. Suzi Crownhart

    My sympathy to Bill’s family. He was a very nice, pleasant man.

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