Townzen, Thomas Lee Sr.
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89, of Buckeye, Arizona went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. Tommy was born in Lancaster, Texas on May 11, 1923. His family moved to Arizona when he was 2 years old and he attended Palo Verde Elementary School and graduated from Buckeye Union High School in 1942. After graduation he joined the US Navy and served 4 years and was honorably discharged in 1946. He then attended Arizona State University where he went on to receive a BS, Master's and was a dissertation short of a Doctorate of Education. Thomas taught at Palo Verde School then moved to Scottsdale where he was a teacher at Ingleside. Entering into administration, he became a principal and served at Pima, Tonalea, Ingleside, and Cherokee Elementary Schools. He was promoted to the District Office where he served as a statistician and then as the Assistant Superintendent. In 1977 the family relocated to Palo Verde where he served as the Superintendent of Palo Verde Elementary until 1988. Tommy met the love of his life, Melba Wood and they were married in 1955. He is preceded in death by his brothers James and George and his sister Lillian. Thomas is survived by his loving wife Melba, 4 children LaVonne Morris, Cathey Bradley, Neva Burlingame and Thomas Lee Townzen, Jr. He was adored and will be missed by his grandchildren Kara, Brittany, Chris, James, Tommy Lee III, Becca and Jessa , 2 great grandchildren Savannah and Caroline and many nieces,nephews family and friends. Thomas was active in his local church, Palo Verde Baptist Church and taught Sunday School even up to the morning of his death. A memorial service will be held Saturday, November 17th at Palo Verde Baptist Church, 29600 W. Old US Highway 80 at 10:00 AM. Donations can be made to the Palo Verde Baptist Church Building Fund or the Phoenix Gospel Mission.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Nov. 16, 2012