Teresa Rey Burns
The world lost a “Rey” of sunshine when Teresa Rey Bryan Burns passed away on Monday, November 14, 2016 after her courageous fight with a recently discovered heart condition. She was born in Norfolk, Virginia to James and Mary Bryan. She spent her entire life in and around Virginia Beach, VA.
From a little girl and throughout her life, Teresa loved the performing arts, all of it! Dance, Tech Work, Performing, Acting, Singing, she could do it all. She has been part of the theatre community for EVER. She graduated from Kempsville High School where she was of course, a thespian. She was always active in local community theatre from local dinner theatre and performances to studying dramatic arts at both VCU and Virginia Wesleyan. Her love of theatre never left her, but was put on hold.
Teresa loved her family fiercely. Her Father Jimmy, her Mother Mary and her big bro Keith, she loved them all so much. When her Dad’s print shop needed her full time, she jumped right in, as anyone who knows her would expect. She grew up in and worked around his print shop all her life. She spent many years as the smiling face and voice of that company her Dad, Jimmy built. “Good Afternoon, Bryan Printing Company. This is Teresa how may I help you?” She grabbed anyone’s business that had contact with her. Once Jimmy retired, she jumped right back to her true calling in Theatre.
She has worked at venues all across the Hampton roads area. At the time of her passing, she was a Lighting Designer for the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts as well as the “go to girl” for all things theatre at Norfolk State University. She was an integral part of the 2004 presidential campaign where she was in charge of staging and lighting. She also worked with rock stars at both the Virginia Beach Amphitheatre and the Ted Constant convocation center in her attempt to make Keith jealous, since he was “kind of” a rock star himself.
She accomplished everything she set her mind to from, climbing 80 foot ladders to change and focus lights, to spot lighting rock stars, to building steel stages up in the air at the ocean front. The girl was fearless.
She was a single Mom, making it happen for herself and the most cherished person in her world, her daughter, Maria. Everything Teresa has done since the moment that child was born was done to make sure that Teresa became a fabulous, mother, father, mentor, provider, educator and to be sure Maria knew without doubt ever, she was loved. Wow, what Teresa was able to accomplish. She deserves applause and a standing ovation!
Then one day out of nowhere, as fate would have it, she reconnected with her soulmate. Rodger Burns came sweeping back into her life. “Rod the Bod” as she described him in high school, reconnected with Teresa on facebook and she finally got her knight in shining armor and her fairy tale ending. She spent the last five years of her life so happy because she felt complete, safe, loved and protected at last. We are all looking for that and she never took her good fortune for granted. She got two new wonderful stepchildren in the deal. And then she was a firefighter’s wife, a farmer, a mother, a friend and a soulmate. Her life was complete. She was so very happy. She was a woman of strength, wit, wisdom, courage, perseverance and unconditional love.
Left to cherish her memory is her precious daughter Maria MaWhinney, her loving husband Rodger Burns, her amazing stepchildren Kasey and Ashley Burns, her devoted mother Mary Bryan, and her big bother Keith, his wonderful wife Hiromi and beautiful niece Nikki Bryan. She was the love and light of all of her friends and family, and all will remember her in our hearts forever.
No soul on this earth can replace her. God only knows how we will all go on without her. We all have to because that is what Teresa wants. She wants the people she loves the most to be happy, to help one another and accomplish great things. We will honor her request.
The celebration of her life for her family and friends was held Sunday, November 20th at the Sandler Center in Virginia Beach. The family would like to thank the over three hundred people who were able to attend as well as those who attended in spirit. A huge thank you to all those who came together to make that happen. Many people have asked what they can do to help. A memorial fund to help cover tuition and books for Maria as she continues her education has been established. If you would like to contribute, you can make checks payable to Teresa Bryan Burns Memorial Fund care of Rodger Burns 3493 Muddy Creek Rd Virginia Beach, VA. 23456