Our History

In 1920, John C. Burns bought a storefront on Norfolk Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Traditionally, funerals were held in the home and undertakers occupied small offices to meet families and show a small selection of caskets. As the demands of funeral service providers changed, a new trend of using a funeral home to have both the wake and funeral became more common to better serve the needs of families during a difficult time.

John C. Burns bought the former St. Mary’s Rectory in 1928 and moved his storefront operation to the new, spacious building just down the street. This made John C. Burns Funeral Home one of the first funeral homes in Cambridge to accommodate wakes.

In 1939, John Burns’ son, Francis “Brother” Burns, joined the family business shortly before serving in the army during World War II. Upon Francis’ return from service, they purchased the current location on Broadway.

Brother Burns was joined by his son Francis Jr to the family business. In 1986, they bought their second location in Billerica on Boston Road. Francis Burns Jr. has continued to operate both businesses. He and his wife, Susan L. Burns, also a funeral director, have resided in Billerica for more than thirty years where they raised their five children.

With over a century of trust, you can count on us to help you plan a personal and lasting tribute to your loved one.