Thomas Burrus

Obituary of Thomas Burrus

            Thomas M. Burrus, 68, of rural Arenzville, died Saturday, October 28, 2017, at his residence.  He was born July 13, 1949, in Jacksonville, the son of Martin Gayle and Jeanette Sullivan Burrus.  He married Marcy Bramley of Divernon, on February 2, 1969, at the First Presbyterian Church in Divernon, and she survives.

            Tom is also survived by two daughters, Lori (Tim) Greene of Concord and Gail (Chad) Mitchell of Forsyth; four grandchildren, Griffin Greene, Gannon Greene, Taylor Mitchell, and Pete Mitchell; one brother, Todd (Deb) Burrus of Arenzville, and several nieces and nephews.  Tom was preceded in death by his parents and one sister, Rebecca Oliver.

            Tom worked at Burrus Seed full-time since graduating from Illinois College in 1971. He was currently serving as president of Burrus Bros. & Assoc. Growers.

            Tom was actively involved in his local community as well as the seed industry.  He served on several boards including two terms as a board member and former president of Independent Professional Seed Association (IPSA), Illinois Crop Improvement Association, and 33 years as a board member with 6 years as board chairman of Illinois Foundation Seed, Inc., building upon his father Martin’s work, who was a founding board member in 1937. Additionally, Tom served two terms on the Passavant Area Hospital board of directors, a five-year term as an Illinois College Alumni Trustee, and a Trustee for the Gamma Nu Literary Society. He was a commissioner of the Coon Run Drainage District. Tom served in many capacities at the Arenzville United Methodist Church.

            Tom’s dedication to the independent seed industry was recognized by numerous accolades throughout his life including the 2010 IPSA Industry Service Award, an Honorary Life Member Award from the Illinois Seed Trade Association, and induction into the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce Agri-Industry Hall of Fame in March 2010. He was also an ardent supporter of his alma mater, Illinois College. Tom, along with Marcy, was named the 2016 Illinois College Homecoming Parade Marshall and received the Young Alumni Award in 1988.

            Tom lived his life with enthusiasm and encouragement to all. He loved conversation, and by the manner in which he asked questions was evidence of his genuine interest in others. His compassion was apparent to family, friends, employees and even new acquaintances. You didn’t have to know Tom Burrus long to recognize he needed 26 hours in every day to achieve goals and set new ones. He promoted what and who he believed in. Tom’s life was exemplified by his strident support and unwavering advocacy of the independent seed industry and the farmers they served. Known for putting the farmers’ needs first, Tom truly believed in the value of service and integrity. His passion for the seed business was both obvious and infectious and will leave an indelible mark on the industry that he loved.

            A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, November 2, 2017, at Grace United Methodist Church in Jacksonville.  Private interment will be in Arenzville North Cemetery.  The family will meet friends from 3 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Arenzville United Methodist Church in Arenzville.  Memorials are suggested to Arenzville United Methodist Church, Passavant Area Hospital Foundation, or the Independent Professional Seed Association Scholarship.  The Williamson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.  Condolences may be left online at www.airsman-hires.com.