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Obituary-Thomas W. Burrows Jr.

A Life Founded on Family and Forged in Faith, Thomas "Tom" Burrows, Jr., June 19, 1946 - January 26, 2024.

Thomas W. Burrows, Jr., of Dixon, IL, passed away on January 26, 2024, after a long battle with colon cancer. He entered heaven surrounded by his loving family. He was 77 years old.

Tom’s life exceeded the standard loving husband, father, papa, pillar of the community, and man of faith. He embodied these qualities in his daily life. His love for faith, family, friends, church, and community was evident in all that he did.

Tom was born a child of God on June 19, 1946, to Ruby (Clevenger) and Thomas Burrows, Sr., of Rockford, IL. Tom was a 1964 graduate of Auburn High School, where he was an expert marksman and a lieutenant colonel in the high school ROTC. He was a champion sprinter specializing in the 200 and he played the trombone in the high school band. Tom graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science in Education and later earned his Master’s in Education in June 1973. Tom met the love of his life, Sandy Peterson, in September 1966. They were married on June 29, 1968, and enjoyed 55 years of marriage.

Tom was the first male first-grade teacher at the Dillon Elementary School in Rock Falls, IL, where he taught for 14 years and was principal for 17 years. Tom coached his girls and others in youth basketball, softball, and soccer; he was President of the Dixon soccer league for several years. He was an active member of the Dixon Kiwanis Club, spearheading and leading many projects. He was an advocate for CASA, a member of the Rock River Hospice board, and president of the Lee County ARC, but his passion was Dixon Habitat for Humanity. He was one of the leaders and a member of the group known as “The Band of Brothers” and together with other volunteers, built more than 20 homes in the Dixon area.

Tom was always available to do anything anyone asked of him. He would pick up sick grandchildren from school, remodel homes, attend countless sporting events, change a tire, paint a house, work on the boat, and, of course, mend a broken heart with a shoulder to cry on. His strong soul and gentle heart always seemed to settle any situation. His calming demeanor could fix any problems and ease any pain.

Tom and Sandy enjoyed many trips overseas, Corvette rallies, beach time at Indian Rocks Beach, boating on the Rock River, and Friday night dinners with many special friends. Tom’s favorite activity was spending time on the water with his family at the “Burrows’ Balsam Lake” cabin. He would always say, “Let’s meet at the end of the dock” for crappie fishing, tubing, boat riding, or skiing.

Tom was an active member of the First Baptist Church in Dixon, serving as a deacon and on the board of trustees. Tom’s ideals were forged in faith. It was his faith that gave him the strength to learn, teach, and lead. His love for God and belief in Christ’s salvation was the foundation and stronghold of his earthly life. He taught his family to be Christians, to help others, and above all, to be believers.

To carry on his legacy of love and faith, Tom left behind a loving wife, Sandy; two loving daughters, Mandy (Matt) Sandrock (Grace, Denver, Hope, and Bree) and Stephie (Evan Murray) Burrows (Tommy, Andy, and Jillian).  

A Memorial Visitation will be held at the First Baptist Church, in Dixon, on Sunday, February 4, 2024, beginning at 2:30 p.m. until the time of Memorial Service at 3:30 p.m., with Rev. Bunyan Cocar, officiating. A dinner reception will follow. Cremation Rites have been accorded.

In lieu of flowers, memorials have been established to the First Baptist Church of Dixon and Dixon Habitat for Humanity.

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