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William J. Burris

October 25, 1993 August 25, 2020
William J. Burris
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Obituary for William J. Burris

William Joseph Burris passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 26. While he was with us for such a heartbreakingly short time in this physical world, his life and the impacts he had will not be forgotten.
Will was born on October 25th, 1993 in Monterey, California. As a child growing up in a Navy family, he experienced many corners of this beautiful country, spending several years in Ridgecrest, CA, and moving subsequently to Lexington Park, MD, Ridgecrest, CA, Alexandria, VA, Ridgecrest, CA, Oviedo, FL and Gainesville, FL.
He graduated from Hagerty High School in 2012. While a student there, he enjoyed sports and music. He lettered in water polo, swimming and wrestling. As a member of the Hagerty marching band and drum line, he was part of Hagerty winning its first state competition for marching band excellence. He was a well-liked and active member of his school community, being voted both Homecoming King and Class Clown by his peers.
His personal development was shaped by the tremendous influences of friends and leaders in his scouting family, beginning with his start in Tiger Cubs in the Washington D.C. area. As a cub scout, he won a regional pinewood derby, inspiring a love of learning and engineering that he would carry with him throughout his life. He progressed through Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, and earned his Eagle Scout Award, as a member of Troop 617 in Oviedo, after he designed, funded, and built a butterfly garden for the students of Riverdale Elementary School.
Troop 617 introduced Will to the world of high adventure scouting, allowing him to attend the Philmont Scout Ranch located in Cimarron, NM, Sea Base in the Florida Keys, and the Northern Boundary Waters canoeing between the USA and Canada. He completed many 100+ mile treks across northern New Mexico as a Philmont camper, and later returned to complete the National Youth Leadership Experience for Search & Rescue training, and a Rayado trek one year later. These experiences sparked his love of the outdoors and outdoor training that led to his employment at Philmont as a Camp Ranger, Rayado Ranger and ultimately working as a Ranger Trainer.
He attended the University of Florida and studied in the fields of computer engineering, mechanical engineering and statistics. He was an active member of the Outdoor sports recreation program and was instrumental in the design and construction of the Center for Outdoor Recreation and Education, or CORE, a completely new outdoor rec facility for students. He worked as a personal trainer and led many different fitness and outdoor skills classes for fellow students and faculty. In 2017, he re-directed his focus towards training to become a Paramedic. He is nationally certified as an Emergency Medical Technician and was progressing towards qualification as a Paramedic.
He continued to maintain a strong interest in sports and fitness throughout his life. Will competed in numerous Tough Mudder, Bone Frog and Spartan endurance races. He was a certified Scuba diver and loved planning underwater adventures all around the state of Florida. He is an avid and accomplished rock climber, personal trainer, and certified yoga instructor. He worked as a private guide completing numerous back-packing tours across Iceland after falling in love with the country on a trip he took with his sister in 2017.
Will loved animals, and for the past several years cared for an ever-changing collection of snakes, lizards, spiders, and bugs at his apartment. He enjoyed learning about and interacting with wildlife on all of his outdoor adventures, and enjoyed sharing with others how to do so safely.
Food and cooking were another passion of his. He enjoyed learning about different places he traveled through meals shared, and would often prepare dishes for friends and family.
He volunteered his time in supporting summer programs for young people suffering from diabetes. He routinely donated to area blood banks and worked to improve the conditions for those suffering from homelessness in the Gainesville area.
Laughter and light were never in short supply if Will was around. He left an impression on any person he connected with, no matter how brief their interaction. He will always be remembered for his grit, strong will, sense of determination and purpose, while also being known for his kind soul, warm heart and emphatic approach to friends and family.
Will is survived by his father, Stephen Burris, his mother Katie (Webb) Burris, and his older sister, Emily Burris.
Services will be held on Friday, September 4th at 11:00 am at St. Stephen Catholic Community located in Winter Springs, FL. It will be live-streamed for friends and family who cannot attend.
In lieu of flowers, in his memory his family invites you to make an appointment to donate at your local blood bank, or consider a donation in his name to either:
• The Philmont Staff Association, providing support and assistance to camp staffers and helping other young adventurers work seasonally at Philmont while completing their college education.
• The Florida Camp for Children and Youth With Diabetes where Will volunteered. Checks can be made out to Florida Diabetes Camp and sent to P.O. Box 14136, Gainesville, FL 32604. 100% of any donations received in Will’s name will go to helping kids attend camp.

‘To transcend our capacities,
Nothing is as important
As our heart’s
-Sri Chinmoy

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Previous Events

Funeral Mass




11:00 AM 9/4/2020 11:00:00 AM
St. Stephen Catholic Community

575 Tuskawilla Road
Winter Springs, FL 32708

St. Stephen Catholic Community
575 Tuskawilla Road Winter Springs 32708 FL
United States

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