William John “Billy” Burlee, III beloved husband, father, brother, son-in-law and friend, died surrounded by loving family and friends in Richmond, following a brave battle with cancer. Billy was 54 years old.
Born in Richmond, VA to the late William John Burlee, Jr. and Diane Burch Burlee, Billy grew up on Tree Hill Farm in Varina and graduated from St. Christopher’s School and North Carolina State University. Billy persuaded his bride, Lisa, to depart Raleigh for Richmond, and embarked on a 20-year career at SunTrust Bank in retail, commercial and private banking. In recent years Billy managed his own firm, Financial Aides, where his unique combination of kindness, caring and financial acumen helped a number of seniors with the challenges of finances, insurance and nursing care. It must also be said that Billy’s youthful good looks did not go un-noticed by his clients, whose days he brightened immeasurably.
A lifelong sportsman, Billy enjoyed hunting, fishing, golfing, boating and surfing. Most mornings Billy set a blistering pace for his Seal Team fitness platoon members to follow and remained as fit as in his days as a running back at St. Christopher’s. Billy’s youthful enthusiasm endeared him to the members of Scout Troop 400, where he was Assistant Scoutmaster and go-to guy. His high expectations and wisdom inspired a generation of young men to make a difference and do what is right. Billy coached youth baseball and was active in many professional and civic groups, including Meals on Wheels, where he served on the board.
Billy was the man you would pick first for your team, the man whose measured words commanded respect. He displayed a special kindness to those who had suffered loss and possessed an uncanny ability to recount an endearing and funny story about those who were missed. Billy traveled regularly to North Carolina to enjoy Atlantic Beach with his extended family and friends, and his enthusiasm for the NC State Wolfpack neither respected state boundaries nor showed mercy towards fans of rival teams. Billy’s devotion to his family, wife and sons will long remain a paradigm to admire and emulate.
Billy was preceeded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife of 26 years, Lisa Long Burlee, and his three sons, William John Burlee IV, Mark Christopher Burlee, and Joel Collins Burlee; sisters Mary Burlee Ferguson, husband Ron and daughter Bridget; Diane Burlee Sharpe, husband Frankie, children Donnie and Frankie; Margaret Burlee Hazelgrove, husband Bruce, and children Burch, Bruce, Willie, and Annie; Anne Burlee Beattie, husband Mike, and children Reilly, Parker, and Mason; half-brother Matthew Burlee, all of Richmond; and father and mother-in-law Joel and Paula Long of Raleigh.
Great is the gratitude of the family for the unforgettable assembly of friends who buoyed Billy in these last weeks and days of his graceful, strong fight. The family wishes to thank the kind staff at the Massey Cancer Center at MCV hospital and the Thomas Palliative Care Unit for their sensitive care. A memorial service will be held at Reveille United Methodist Church, 4200 Cary Street Road in Richmond on Monday, July 27 at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to St. Christopher’s School or Massey Cancer Center. Billy’s wife, children, and sisters welcome visitors at the Burlee home following the memorial service Monday or on Saturday or Sunday in the afternoon or early evening.