S.T. "Tom" Burrus

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BURRUS
S.T. "Tom" Burrus

Swan Thomas Burrus of New Braunfels, Texas, died on June 30, 2014. Born on September 16, 1924, in Boswell, Oklahoma, he was the son of the late Sam Burrus and Lota Cotten Burrus Turner and the older brother of Bob, who was born in 1933.

Tom graduated from Adamson High School in Dallas before attending Oklahoma State University, where he lived and worked in the campus fire station to cover room and board. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1943 and was sent to six different college campuses around the country as part of Officer Candidate School, his favorite being Northwestern University's downtown Chicago campus because everyone was so warm and friendly to the sailors.

In 1946, Tom received an honorable discharge at the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade after serving in the Pacific Theatre. Shortly thereafter, he enrolled at the University of Texas -- the second smartest decision of his life. The University of Texas occupied a special place in his heart, and he developed a life-long allegiance to the 'Horns. Tom graduated in 1948 with a Bachelor of Laws and was admitted to the State Bar of Texas later that same year. As a new lawyer, Tom moved to Houston, where he worked for mentor Lewis Cutrer before establishing his own legal practice in the Bank of the Southwest Building.

Following a whirlwind courtship, Tom married Dorcas Ann Cunningham on November 6, 1954 -- the smartest decision of his life. The couple welcomed daughter Mandy in 1957. Wanting to provide more for his family, Tom went to work in Austin as an Assistant Attorney General under Texas Attorney General Will Wilson, whom he admired greatly. After the arrival of Mary Ellis in 1961, the family made the move to New Braunfels, where he joined the law firm of Schleyer Bartram & Reagan, now known as Reagan Burrus PLLC.

Tom loved New Braunfels, contributing his time and efforts to help it become the thriving community it is today. In addition to his law practice, he served as City Attorney for five years. At one time, Tom also represented New Braunfels Utilities. He served as a director of Texas Commerce Bank of New Braunfels, director of Comal Broadcasting Company and secretary-treasurer and director of Comal County Title Company. He founded the Texas Legislative Conference and was named an Honorary Texan of the Year in 2006.

Tom also served as president of the New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce and as a long-time member of the Chamber's Blue Coats. He was awarded the Chair of the Board Award for 1968-69. In 1974, he received the Chamber's Besserung Award for community betterment. In 1976, Tom was selected as a recipient of the Chamber's Hall of Honor Award. The Chamber also bestowed upon Tom the unique honor of "Prince" of the City of New Braunfels.

Tom also served as president of the South Texas Chamber of Commerce, president of the Texas Chamber of Commerce, director of the Braunfels Foundation Trust, past president of the Comal County Bar Association, member of the State Bar of Texas and Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. He also donned lederhosen every fall and volunteered at Wurstfest, achieving the rank of Opa Emeritus. Following retirement in 1991, he took an active volunteer role in Communities in Schools locally.

A proud Longhorn and 50-plus year season ticketholder for UT football games, Tom was a member of the University of Texas Chancellor's Council. He made the pilgrimage to Omaha several times to watch his beloved 'Horns play in the College World Series.

He served St. John's Episcopal Church in many capacities over the years, including vestryman and chancellor.

He loved to travel the world with Ann, close friends and the Flying Longhorns. David Robinson's arrival in 1989 convinced him to become a San Antonio Spurs season ticket holder, and he and Ann enjoyed celebrating the team's first four championships together. He followed the Spurs' 2014 championship more quietly but was still a proud fan.

Tom is preceded in death by his wife, Ann, his parents, brother-in-law Dr. James Cunningham and sisters-in-law Lois Cunningham and Kay Burrus. He is survived by his brother, Bob J. Burrus of Grapevine, daughters Amanda Burrus Talaat and Mary Burrus Langford of San Antonio, grandchildren Susannah Talaat Russell and husband Jeff of Houston, Sarah Taylor Talaat and Allison Langford of San Antonio, 10 nieces and nephews, and cousins Suzanne Hammons Daone, Billy Hammons, Amanda Peel Booker and Joe Howard Peel.

A memorial service will be held at St. John's Episcopal Church on Monday, July 7, 2014, at 2 p.m., followed by a reception in the parish hall. If the Spirit moves you, please wear burnt orange -- it was Tom's favorite color. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. John's Episcopal Church, Communities in Schools of South Central Texas, The Braunfels Foundation Trust or the .
Published in Express-News on July 6, 2014
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