Father Thomas Burr
COPPELL, Texas—Father Thomas Burr died July 29, 2019, at his residence in St. Joseph Village in Coppell, Texas. He was 83.
Father Burr was born Nov. 25, 1935, in Geneva to Ralph and Clara (Keller) Burr.
Originally from St. Patrick Parish in St. Charles, Father Burr graduated from Marmion Military Academy in Aurora in 1953. From there he went to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where he studied law for two years after completing his undergraduate studies there.
He was an analyst in investment banking and international insurance before deciding to study for the priesthood. In 1969 he began studies at Pope John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Mass., and completed his theology courses in 1973. He was ordained June 9, 1973 by Bishop Arthur J. O’Neill at the Cathedral of St. Peter, Rockford.
His first assignment was as parochial vicar at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Aurora and part-time faculty member of Aurora Central Catholic High School where he served until 1975 when he was assigned as parochial vicar for St. Laurence Parish in Elgin.
During his time at St. Laurence, Father Burr was elected to the presidency of Elgin’s Community Crisis Center, a shelter for battered and abused women and children. He also served as head of the Elgin Police Department’s chaplain corps and was on 24-hour call in that capacity.
He was recognized for his service to the Elgin Community in 1979 with the Distinguished Service Award from the city’s Cosmopolitan Club.
In 1979 he was appointed to the staff of Catholic Charities and to postgraduate studies in social work at Loyola University. He served Catholic Charities for 10 years as both associate director and director.
During his years at Catholic Charities, Father Burr served in a statewide capacity as chair of the Catholic Conference of Illinois (CCI) Social Service Division.
At the request of then Gov. James R. Thompson, he chaired the Child Welfare Advisory Committee for the State of Illinois. That task force reviewed concerns about the provision of child welfare services provided by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
Some of his diocesan service included being coordinator for the Kane and McHenry County Marriage Encounter programs, member of the Diocesan Personnel Board and chaplain to both Judson and Elgin community colleges.
In 1989 he became parochial vicar at Holy Family Parish in Rockford and then was named pastor of St. Mary Parish in McHenry in 1991 where he served until his retirement in July 2006.
Survivors include a brother, Robert C. Burr, St. Charles, and several nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his parents and sister, Marcella (Leonard) DeReadt.
Funeral Mass will be Monday, Aug. 5, at 11 a.m. at St. Mary Parish, 1401 N. Richmond Road, McHenry.
Visitation will be Sunday, Aug. 4 at the church from 3 to 6 p.m. and from 9 to 10:45 a.m. until the Mass on Aug. 5. There will be a private interment at a later date in Union Cemetery in St. Charles.