On October 4, 2018 at the age of 62, Paul Matthew Burnham was called home by his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Paul was born September 20, 1956 in Graham, Texas, to Forrest “Juke” Hayden Burnham and Ludonna Jane Burnham. His mother was an elementary school teacher and principal, while his father worked as a health inspector for the State of Texas. Paul grew up in Graham, Ralls, Lorenzo, and Round Rock with his brothers Nick and David and his sister Leesa. Although he played little league baseball and football growing up, playing Army was his favorite. He used to play with hundreds of plastic Army men, lining them up to play war, and attaching firecrackers to them so he could blow them up. He would later pass this on to his children and his nieces and nephews.
Due to his mischievous nature, he spent a lot of his childhood in the ER getting sewn up or bandaged. He would often be found riding his favorite horse Paint through town, racing against trains with his sister holding onto the saddle for dear life. If you couldn’t find him on the saddle you could find him in the cab of an old purple truck he bought with his brother David. They bought it for $100 and you could see the pavement through the floorboard.
In high school he was in the FFA. He traveled a lot with his brothers and father, showing the steers and lambs he raised for livestock shows. He also spent time playing pranks on his friends and family. One of his favorite things was keeping people laughing. Out on the road one night, he and his buddy Jack Sweatman killed a rattle snake. He decided to put it on the front porch of his own house, ring the doorbell, and let his mother discover it. When he was a child he tried to set his grandmother GamGam’s house on fire, even though he had a very close relationship with her. Paul spent the majority of his time with his family throughout high school, and then went on to Texas A&M to study Animal Science. He planned to go to vet school, but also joined the Corps of Cadets in case he wanted to have a career in the military. He graduated from Texas A&M, class of 1979, and was a member of the M-1 company.
After graduation, Paul spent 29 years serving in the Army as a combat engineer. He was stationed in multiple places across the country and was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Paul was especially proud of his acceptance to the Army War College and serving with the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force (CJSOTF) in Afghanistan.
Paul raised his three children, Ashley, Julie, and Corey, as a single parent, several thousand miles away from any family. He was an incredibly loving father who was always thinking of the next adventure with his kids the most memorable being when he would take them to San Antonio, stayed at the Embassy Suites, ate at Golden Corral, and went to Fiesta Texas and Sea World. His kids, twenty plus years later, still talk about these vacations.
Although Paul was a financially wise man of integrity, he was also a “smart ass” (biblical term) who was very funny and was always making up songs. He was a man of many one liners, the least of these being, “Let me check my give a shit meter,” “Negative ghost rider,” “Help me smell this up,” “Shit fire save matches,” “Fuller than a wood tick”, etc. etc. He had a very realistic but positive outlook on life, and was always willing to do whatever it took to get the job done. Paul always looked out for his kids, and had others best interest at heart. In a nutshell, Paul was a "good sum' bitch”.
Paul leaves behind his mother Ludonna Jane Burnham, his children Ashley Nicole Burnham, Julie Jane Burnham, and Corey Lee Burnham, his brothers Forrest (Nick) Berry Burnham and David Norman Burnham, and his sister Leesa Gayle Sager.
To honor Paul’s life, his children have planned a visitation beginning at 1:00 PM with a Life Celebration to begin at 2:00 PM on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 at Living Hope Baptist Church at 4170 State Hwy 6 S. College Station, TX 77845. Paul requested that his service be celebratory and not somber. For this reason he requested that attendees wear little to no black.
In lieu of flowers, his children ask that donations be made in Paul’s honor to the Aggie BSM at http://aggiebsm.org/give or to Children at Heart Ministries at https://donate.cahm.org/give/87086/#!/donation/checkout.
Please share any memories or tributes to Paul on his Caring Bridge Page at https://www.caringbridge/org/visit/teamburnham.
Children at Heart Ministries