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William M. “Tonky” “Bill” “Paw-Paw” “G-Pa” Burroughs Jr., was a beloved father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and husband during his faithful and fearless journey of 91 years of life. He passed away peacefully in his home in Lake City in the early morning hours of May 18, 2023, surrounded by his loving family.
Bill was one of four children born to Louvenia and William M. Burroughs Sr., of Shamrock, FL and grew up with six other siblings. Bill was predeceased by his wife and friend of 66 years, Vada Glass Burroughs of Cottondale; son, Jerry Thomas Burroughs; and a great-grandchild, Patricia Louise Britt. He is survived by his five sons: William F. Burroughs and his wife, Roxanne, of Gainesville; Gary Burroughs and his wife, Jeannie, of Pensacola; Rodger Burroughs of Okeechobee; Captain Mike Burroughs, and his wife, Geneva, of Lake City; and Dean Burroughs, and his wife, Jennifer, of Parker, Colorado. Affectionately known as Paw-Paw and G-Pa, he leaves behind 12 grandchildren: Michael (Pam), Mandy (Josh), Becky (Steve), Heather (Chuck), Brent (Sarah), Erin, April (Lee), Mary (Gregory), Lavada (Winston), Tommy (Kate), Tammy (Joe), and William E. (Diana); 27 great grandchildren: Jeanna, Victoria, Gregory, Gary, Madelyn, Grant, Cale, Vada Jo, Rhet, Kannon, Michael, Colton, Kirsten, Caycee, Kalley, Chloe, Haley, Mary Grace, William Charles, Gracie, Abi, Genny, Joshua, Emily, Carter and Tate; and a host of nieces and nephews.
In his early years, Bill developed a love for hunting and fishing, even skipping school to wet a line or shoot a squirrel or two. Even at a young age, Bill had a family first mentality, ensuring his siblings were taken care of and possibly earning him the nickname “Honky-Tonk” for returning his wheelchair bound brother home after Coy’s many trips to the local bar. In the early 1930’s, the Burroughs moved to Crestview and opened a family business – The Blueberry Grocery. Bill worked there and had various other jobs before finding his true calling as a Florida State Trooper in 1952.
Trooper Burroughs served the State for over 30 years, only taking some time off at the request of his much-loved Mother to come back to Crestview to help his family. In 1966, Bill moved Vada and the five boys to Pahokee where they had their sixth son and lived until 1998. Lieutenant Burroughs was known for his compassion, work ethic and dedication. Legend has it, the recipients of his many speeding tickets often said, “thank-you, Mr. Burroughs.” Respected for always doing the right thing, no matter the cost, he embodied the motto, “courtesy, service and protection.” In 1993, he was literally dragged from his patrol car when he could not find a way around mandatory retirement, having reached the rank of Lieutenant.
In 1998, Tonky moved to Lake City. He loved going to church, gardening and tending to his vegetables, the Florida Gators, chicken & dumplings, westerns, hunting, reading the newspaper, and his coffee. Throughout his life, Bill never lost sight of what was most important – his family and his faith. To spend a moment with him was to feel the depth and sincerity of his love. Paw-Paw, or G-Pa, adored his grandchildren and they loved on him every chance they could. To say he was a hero would be an understatement. He was a kind and faithful servant and a loving father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, brother, husband and friend.
Visitation will be held at Gateway-Forest Lawn Funeral Home (3596 S-US Hwy 441) on May 22 from 5-7 pm. The funeral service is at Christ Central (217 SW Dyal Ave) on May 23 at 2 pm. Graveside services and interment will follow at Gateway-Forest Lawn. Light refreshments and fellowship will follow at Bistro at Christ Central. In lieu of flowers, the family requests those who wish to express sympathy to consider donating to Shriners Hospital for Children in William M. Burroughs name.