Obituary: Ella Marie (Hagan) Burns


Ella Marie was a consummate and loving mother, wife, teacher and friend adored by all who knew her. A graduate of Cullman High School and member of Cullman First Methodist Church, she married Cullman native Alan Burns in 1949 and they raised two children whose life ambition was to make them proud. A child of the Depression, Ella Marie knew how to live on very little early in their marriage; as educators, she and Alan earned less than poverty-level income the year their first child was born.

Ella Marie was an exceptionally strong person, suffering from and surviving uterine cancer, broken bones, a series of strokes, diabetes and Covid-19. She shepherded her children through, not only the usual childhood traumas, but also smallpox for one and polio for the other. Her tireless physical therapy with her son is the reason he walks today, decades later. While she was afraid of little things like snakes and the dark, she was fearless in the face of death and threats against her husband’s life in the 1960s.

She is a beautiful soul who loved her family, friends and her Lord, along with flowers, playing bridge and wearing big earrings. Ella Marie was given a gold record by Polydor Records for telling her son to play Frank Mills’ instrumental “Music Box Dancer” on the radio in Chicago. He did, others followed, and it became a hit song.

In Heaven, Ella Marie joins her mother and father: Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hagan Sr; her brothers: Robert, Harold, and Tom Hagan and her beloved husband: Alan Sr. She is survived by her daughter: Marie Lutz, and son: Alan Burns; their spouses Rick and Donna respectively; grandchildren: Jillian and Erick Lutz; nephews: Joe Hagan, Bob Hagan, Dan Beaver, and Tracy Beaver; nieces: Jane Hagan, Beth Medley, Angi Meyers, Linda Evans, Carol Albritton, Sandy Letcher, and Karen Ritter; brother-in-law: Bucky Beaver and many great-nephews-and-nieces.

Funeral services for Ella Marie Burns will be held Thursday, May 6 at 2:00 p.m. at Cullman First Methodist Church, 320 3rd Ave SE in Cullman, where she and Alan were married. Visitation will be the same day from 1:00 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. The church suggests and the family requests that attendees be masked for the indoor portions of the service out of respect for others. Ella Marie’s children have established the Alan and Ella Marie Burns Memorial Scholarship to provide a yearly grant to help deserving graduates of Cullman High School attend college. Friends and family are welcome to send flowers or to donate to the scholarship fund as they prefer. Donations are accepted at any branch of Merchants Bank or via (