First of all, thank you. 🙌 Thank you for all the words of encouragement, prayers, good vibes and compassion during this incredibly difficult time. Today, Dad's ashes came home to rest.
It still doesn't seem real, but we're coming to terms with it more each day. Below are the most difficult words we've ever had to write -- his obituary.
Thomas Michael Burgess passed away Oct. 27, 2020 at his home in Richfield, Minn. His loving daughters were by his side. He was 74 years old.
Our dad, Tom, was an absolute treasure. His smile was infectious. His wit could disarm and charm even the hardest of hearts. His storytelling was legendary. And his warmth made you feel seen, heard and loved.
Tom was a proud “northside boy.” Born on April 4, 1946, at St. Barnabas Hospital in Minneapolis to Patrick and Stella Burgess, he grew up in a small duplex on the 1800 block of Bryant Avenue North. In 1964, Tom graduated from Minneapolis North High School and went on to attend the University of Minnesota Twin Cities where he studied philosophy and political science.
While he’s most known for his long career as a commercial real estate broker, Tom had a colorful resume that included taxi driver, teacher and tutor, special event planner, political aide, salesman, and the list goes on. However, there was no job he loved more than being a dad.
It feels impossible to adequately capture the kind of father he was. He coached little league. He painted our fingers and toes. He volunteered as a “Room Mom” in our elementary school classrooms. He helped us choose our first lipsticks. He adored us — and he made sure we knew it.
When doubt, anxiety or feelings of failure crept in, he wrapped us in reassuring words, a warm hug and unconditional love. In times of joy, accomplishment or new opportunities, he beamed with pride and provided endless encouragement. And quite incredibly, his fatherly love and adoration wasn’t limited by blood. He was always “Pops” to those who we’d chosen to be our closest friends.
Despite being burdened with frontotemporal lobe dementia (FTD) and primary progressive aphasia (PPA) in the final years of his life, Tom’s warm and captivating smile and sense of humor never faded. And of course, he captured the hearts of every one of the incredible aides who helped care for him.
Losing him so soon is excruciating. But we’re so thankful his disease is gone and he’s at rest. We’re truly blessed we got to keep him as long as we did.
Tom is survived by his daughters Sarah Schweitzer (Rob) and Caitlin Williams (Derrick); grandchildren Grant and Cora Schweitzer; former life partners Mary Burgess and Judy Cassetti; and sisters Rosemary Sullivan (Fred Fiterman) and Susan Olson (Bruce).
A private family memorial will be held now, and a public celebration of life will occur at a later date when we can safely gather again.
Once it's safer for us to come together, we plan to update this page with information on a celebration of life. In the meantime, please leave your favorite memory of Dad. Your stories will bring us comfort -- and probably laughter, too. ❤️
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