Roy ''Burly'' Burlison was a man that lived life beyond its limits. Roy did everything with passion, compassion and a drive that few could match. Roy was selfless and thought of others in everything that he did. His love for his wife, Linda was seen by everyone that knew him. His pet name for her was ''Baby duck''. He never explained that one to her or anyone else, but, we are certain that it had something to do with the beauty he saw in animals and all of God's creation. Linda was his life, his soul and his partner forever.
Roy made an impact on the fast pitch softball community that will last forever. He was a coach, mentor, father and grandfather to many. He loved his girls more than life itself. There was never a time that he wouldn't happily talk about the game or the girls that he was coaching. We could sit for hours and hear about the girl's successes or challenges in practice or on the diamond. Roy was even more proud of the girl's success in the classroom. He shared often that he stressed the importance of education more than his beloved game of softball. Softball was his passion, but, his love was for his girls and the impact that he could leave on their success in the game of life.
Roy loved his kids, grandkids and his immediate and extended family. His greatest love was his Alexis, Brennon and his YoYo, Halley. They brought love, joy and smiles to him daily with conversation, texts, hugs and kisses. He told them often how proud he was and constantly encouraged them to be the best they could be at whatever they chose to do. His favorite four words were , ''I love you Paw''.
Roy's impact on fast pitch softball in the US has been recognized by many. Some players never win an ASA fast pitch national championship, although their individual performance is outstanding. Nine times pitcher Roy Burlison, who had overpowering speed, competed in the ASA Men's Major Fast Pitch National Championship, but never came home a national champion during a 27-year career. The closest he came was in 1969 when, then 23, Burlison hurled the Fairchild Falcons of Mountain View, CA to a second place. Born October 18, 1945, Burlison had an outstanding tourney. He won seven of nine games and struck out 108 batters in 62 innings, allowing 26 hits and 11 runs. His performance earned him the tourney MVP award as well as a first-team All-America selection. Burlison said winning that MVP award in his first national was the greatest thrill of his career. He also won the MVP award in the 1971 ASA Men's National Fast Pitch Championship. In national championship play, he won 23 games and lost 14 for a winning percentage of .649. During his career he won more than 700 games and lost less than 100 with 14 perfect games. He retired as an active player in 1993. Roy was inducted into the Missouri Hall of Fame, Indiana Hall of Fame and Ohio Hall of Fame for his accomplishments in Men's Fast Pitch Softball. His impact on Men's Fast Pitch Softball will live forever.
Roy's professional career spanned 33 years with one company, Anixter. Roy was a true leader and led many to success throughout his career. He retired in March of 2004, after a long and successful career.
Roy leaves many behind that will someday meet him in heaven. His family still on earth are his wife and soulmate, Linda Burlison, sons, Aaron and his wife, Rene', Shannon and his wife, Carri, Brent and his wife, Alexis and Kevin, his grandchildren, Alexis Gamewell, Brennon Gamewell and Halley Gamewell, Betty Ray, sister, Debbie Whitt and David Ray, niece and nephew, Michael and Regina Burlison, his nephew and niece. Many that have gone before him are holding him and hearing his laugh today. Those family members are, his mother, Emma Lee, his father JR, his brother Sonny and his aunt Francis Evelyn Roberts.
Honorary pallbearers are his teammates from his days in the United States Navy to the many professional teams that he played with throughout his career. He loved every teammate and cherished his days while playing and the times he spent after retirement when they got together to reminisce.
A Celebration of Roy's life will be held on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at Maumelle High School, with a gathering of friends beginning at 6:00 p.m., followed by a Celebration Service at 7:00 P.M. Arrangements are under the direction of Roller-Chenal Funeral Home (501)224-8300.