Edward L. Sonny Burrell, retired Chief Brockton Fire Department, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on Jan. 15, 2014. Edward was born in Brockton on Aug. 12, 1914, the oldest of three children born to Margaret and Lester Burrell. He was the loving husband of Mary Frances (Hunt) Burrell for 69 years until her death in 2009. Edward graduated from Brockton High School in 1932 and went to work for C.F. Anderson Markets until joining the Brockton Fire Department in 1939. Mr. Burrell rose quickly through the ranks and was appointed Lieutenant in 1944, Captain in 1948, Deputy Chief in 1954 and Chief of the Department in 1963. He was Chief for 16 years until retiring in 1979. Edward was the last survivor who fought in the Strand Theatre fire on March 10, 1941 in which 13 firefighters lost their lives when the roof caved in. Edward was an active member of the Brockton Rotary Club for over 40 years and was Sergeant at Arms for many years. He was also a longtime member of the Brockton Historical Society and Fire Museum as well as a member of the Plymouth County Fire Chiefs, Massachusetts Fire Chiefs (Past President), New England Fire Chiefs and International Fire Chiefs. Edward is survived by two sons, Donald (retired Brockton Principal) with whom he made his home and Robert of Stuart, Florida. Edward is also survived by his two granddaughters, Melissa Audyatis and her husband Michael of Berkley, and Carolyn Burrell of Quincy, two great-granddaughters, Meghan and Katelyn Audyatis, two nephews, Ronald Mullen and his wife Kathy of Whitman, and Paul Mullen and his wife Judy of Oklahoma, his cousins and close friends, Margery and Dr. Joseph Tucci and their daughters Paula and Elizabeth. Edward was also the brother of the late Doris Burrell and Margaret Ligori. The family would like to thank the members of the Brockton Fire Department for their many acts of kindness shown to their father during his retirement years. Visitation will be held in the Conley Funeral Home, 138 Belmont Street (Rte 123), Brockton, Sunday, Jan. 19, from 2 - 6 p.m. The funeral procession will gather at the funeral home on Monday at 9 a.m. for a Funeral Mass in St. Edith Stein Church at 10 a.m. Burial will follow in St. Marys Cemetery, Randolph. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations in his honor to the Brockton Historical Society Fire Museum, 216 N. Pearl Street, Brockton, MA 02301. For condolences and directions, please visit www.conleyfuneralhome.com or on Facebook at Conley Funeral & Cremation Service.
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Published in The Enterprise from Jan. 17 to Jan. 18, 2014