William Leo Burns

Obituary Notice

William Leo "Bill" Burns, 61, passed away in Little Rock, Arkansas on Monday, October 11, 2004 of pancreatic cancer, which was diagnosed in March 2002. He was born in El Dorado, Arkansas, on February 6, 1943. Bill graduated from El Dorado High School and attended the University of Arkansas for several years. He graduated with distinction from the University of New Mexico in 1972. The UNM School of Architecture honored him with its Distinguished Alumni award in 1994. Bill was a licensed architect in multiple states, served in the USAF, and is a Vietnam veteran.

In 1974, Bill was one of the founding partners of the Burns/Peters Group of Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 1985 he formed BPLW Architects & Engineers, with offices in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. He served as the President and CEO and later as chairman of the board until his recent retirement. His firm of more than 100 employees has practiced architecture throughout the country for nearly 40 years. He is the architect for many significant structures, including the Albuquerque International Airport and most recently two new federal courthouses to be built in El Paso, Texas, and Las Cruces, New Mexico. Early in his career he received accolades from both Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona and Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico for his pioneering work in solar design.

He and his wife of 25 years, Carman Lavender, recently relocated to Little Rock. A true Arkansas native, his love for his home state transcended the miles. A Red Hog always on his desk and in his heart.

He was preceded in death by his father Leo Alfred Burns and brother James Winston Burns. He is survived by his wife, Carman Lavender, nee Carman Holder; daughters Whitney Leigh Burns of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Ann-Marie Burns of New York; son Marc Lavender and wife Minerva and their children, Jamie Marie Lavender and Jared Mitchell Lavender, of Mesa Arizona; mother Evalena Burns of Little Rock; sister Mary Kathryn Boyett and husband Bruce and their sons, Matthew and Christopher, of Little Rock; brother Thomas Eugene Burns and his wife Robin and their sons, Mark and Scott, of Longview, Texas; and brother Robert Earl Burns and his son Michael and daughter-in-law Blake of Little Rock. He will be missed by his wife and family and by hundreds of employees, clients, and friends to whom Bill gave so much.

Funeral services will be held Friday, October 15, 2004, at 2:00 p.m. at the Ruebel Funeral Home, 6313 W. Markham Street, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205. Burial immediately following at Pinecrest Memorial Park - Alexander, Arkansas.

A memorial service will be held on Monday, October 18, 2004, at the Chelwood Christian Reformed Church at 2200 Chelwood Blvd. NE., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87112.

The Reverend Ronald Cok of Albuquerque, New Mexico, will lead both services.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in remembrance of Bill Burns to your local American Cancer Society.

Register Book

  • Sorry to read the news...from Joe Della Longa, Albuquerque. Bill was great human being...I am privileged to have known him.
    Bob Lauer
    Bernalillo County Detention Center, Operations Manager, 1977-1994
    Cherokee Village, Arkansas
    Email: cva01@centurytel.net
  • Bill, was an inspiration and a great influence in my life. I enjoyed working with him and talking with him. He was a wonderful person and will be dearly missed.
    Fontaine Sanchez 
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Email: fsanchez@bplw.com
  • Bill became one of my first clients when I decided to expand my business and specialize in architects and engineers professional liability insurance back in 1982. I always considered him to be one of the most astute members of his profession.
    Bob Dean
    President, R. J. Dean & Associates
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Email: rjdean@cressinsurance.com
  • Chuck Cala
    Vice President, Jeff Mortensen & Associates, Inc. 
    Albuquerque, New Mexico 
    Email: ccala@jmainc.org
  • I had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Burns only a short time but his enduring dignity and strong character remained clear and constant. My deepest sympathy and prayers to Mr. Burns family, friends, and colleagues.
    Gracen Johnsen 
    President, Johnsen Coporate Services Inc.
    Albuquerque, New Mexico 
    Email: gjohnsen@jcsnetwork.com
  • I am an ex employee of BPLW Architects in Arizona. I worked with Mr. Burns on several projects in Arizona and New Mexico. I much respected his professionalism and fairness. My best wishes goes out to his close friends and family.
    Patrick Sean McGee
    Scottsdale, Arizona 
    Email: pmcgee@sspw.org
  • Salena Lucero 
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Sorry to hear about Bill's passing. He was a respected architect and made many contributions to our state.
    Karen Rademacher
    Wind2 Business Solution Provider
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Bill was a great mentor and leader. Bill took the time to guide me in my early years as an architect and I will always be grateful for his honesty and generosity. My family and I thank Bill for being a part of our lives.
    Daniel Partida, AIA 
    Architect - BPLW Architects & Engineers, Inc
    El Paso, Texas 
    Email: dpartida@bplw.com
  • Bill was a true inspiration to those of us who always had a dream to own and run a business someday. He was the one who taught me to always go the extra mile in order to make it in the business world and in life! He will be missed!
    Rosanna Aragon 
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Bill was my mentor, boss and friend. He hired me at a UNM bus stop and I spent 14 years with him and Ron at Burns/Peters Group and BPLW. He was one man that I will never forget. May the Lord bless Carmen and the whole family.
    Birdie DeNero
    Albuquerque, New Mexico 
    Email: PMDFamily@earthlink.net
  • Our two firms worked together, in the best sense of the word, on the Albuquerque International Airport major expansion. Bill was a leader and friend throughout our association. We will miss him.
    Ted McCagg and the TRA Team
    Kirkland, Washington 
    Email: tedmccagg@earthlink.net
  • Rachael O'Rourke 
    Advertising, Gold Coast Bulletin 
    Gold Coast, QLD, Australia