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Welcome to the memorial page for

Wallace Burdette Stearns

January 10, 1986 ~ October 27, 2017 (age 31)

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Calling Hours
November 1, 2017

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Potter Funeral Home
456 Jackson St.
Willimantic, CT 06226

Funeral Service
November 2, 2017

10:00 AM
Potter Funeral Home
456 Jackson St.
Willimantic, CT 06226

November 2, 2017

11:00 AM
Mansfield Center Cemetery
40 Cemetery Rd.
Mansfield Center, CT 06250

Wallace (Wally) Burdette Stearns, 31, of Mansfield Center, CT passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on Friday, October 27, 2017. Wallace was born January 10, 1986 to Kathleen and Arthur Stearns. He leaves behind his fiancé, Caitlin Dorrington, and their three-week-old son, Jameis Arthur Stearns.

From the very beginning Wallace had an independent and outgoing personality. As a small boy he was always up for an adventure. Riding around in tractors and trucks with his father on their family farm was an early draw for Wally. It proved such a draw, in fact, that Wally was a constant flight risk from his childhood home on Pleasant Valley Rd. in Mansfield, CT. He had to be watched very closely by his mother Kathleen or else Wally would slip out the door and attempt to walk two miles up the hill to the farm.

Throughout his life Wallace was determined to interact with the world on his own terms. During a cowboy phase in his childhood he insisted on being called “Shane” after the character in the classic Western film. Later, as his interest shifted to sports he styled himself as “Michael” after his idol, the legendary Michael Jordan.

Wally’s interest in sports was a lifelong passion. At various times in his life he skateboarded and rollerbladed; he played baseball, football, basketball, and golf. Wally made frequent trips to Colorado to snowboard with friends. He also made the pilgrimage to New York City whenever he had the chance to watch his beloved Yankees play.  When one of his favorite teams had a big game, whether it was the Yankees, Florida State, or UNC, Wally would take pains not to miss it. Parked in front of his TV at home with friends and his faithful canine Bronx, Wally would provide analysis in real-time, shouting encouragement after a good play or expressing indignation at a bad call.

Wally was a fiercely loyal friend. He could fill up a room with his wit and brighten it with his smile. He could talk to anyone about anything. He was a compendium of interesting facts and observations. He loved people and hated spending too much time alone. But most of all, Wally loved his family. Caitlin Dorrington was his constant companion and the love of his life for 14 years. Friends and relatives all agreed that they had never seen Wally happier than when he welcomed their son Jameis into the world on October 2 of this year. Wallace was resolved to be a wonderful father to his new son. His love for Jameis and Caitlin will live on forever.      

Wallace will be deeply missed by his mother Kathleen Stearns and his siblings Arthur C. Stearns, Leslie H. Stearns, Beverly Bresson, Janet Kozin, Marilyn Gould, Kevin Stearns, Craig Stearns, Eliza Shugrue, and Shepherd Stearns. Wallace was predeceased by his father, Arthur Stearns, just last year.

Calling hours will be held Wednesday, November 1, 2017 from 5:00 – 7:00pm at Potter Funeral Home, 456 Jackson St. (Rte. 195) Willimantic, CT. The funeral service will be held at the funeral home on Thursday, November 2, 2017 at 10:00am. A committal service will follow at Mansfield Center Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to a fund to benefit Wallace’s newborn son. For more information and to sign the online memorial guestbook, please visit


Charitable donations may be made to:

In lieu of flowers the family would appreciate donations to Wallace's newborn son by clicking above.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to a fund to benefit Wallace's newborn son, Jameis Arthur Stearns.

October 30, 2017 10:22 am

$500 from Patrick & Eliza Shugrue

We love you both more than you know.

Love Aunt Eliza & Uncle Patrick

October 30, 2017 11:23 am

$25 from Marc Rivera

October 30, 2017 11:25 am

$100 from a private donor

October 30, 2017 12:58 pm

$30 from The Parkins Family

Praying that this sweet little boy provides some comfort during this time of mourning. May a part of Wally live on within him.

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