Thomas Leroy Burgess
Spartanburg County Sheriff Deputy

Story furnished by
Clarence Crocker

“Leroy”, as he was well known and called, was the son of Luther Victor and Nellie Blackwell Burgess, a Glendale native who chose to live here all his life except for the last few years when he was in a nursing home. Born about 3 years later than this writer, I had known him all my life. He was a peach of a guy and always willing to help in any way he could. He was a town booster. Leroy married Jeri Bell who preceded him in death. Their obituaries tell their life’s story well.

Excerpts from the Obituary of Jeri B. Burgess published Sunday, October 29, 2000; “Jeri Bell Burgess, 71, of 170 Church Street, Glendale, died October 28, 2000 at her home. A Spartanburg native, she was the daughter of the late John Wilson Bell and Mildred Caldwell Bell Worthy and was a member of the Glendale Wesleyan Church.
Survivors include her husband, Thomas Leroy Burgess; three daughters, Gayle B. Taylor of Glendale, Kathy B. Coates of Spartanburg, Lisa J. Martin of Conway; seven grandchildren; five step grandchildren; her stepfather, James Worthy of Marietta, Ga.. Funeral services were held at Floyd’s Greenlawn Chapel with interment following in the Greenlawn Memorial Gardens.”

 Excerpts from the Obituary of Thomas Leroy Burgess published Tuesday, November 27, 2007;
“Leroy Burgess, 170 Church Street, Glendale, S. C. died Sunday, November 25, 2007, at the Beverly Living Center in Hendersonville, N. C. Born October 30, 1927 in Glendale, he was the son of the late Luther Victor and Nellie Mae Blackwell Burgess and the husband of the late Geraldine Bell Burgess.
He was a Spartanburg County Sheriff Deputy serving under three Sheriffs; B.B. Brockman, Larry Smith and Bill Coffey. He was also a retired brick mason, former volunteer fireman with the Glendale Fire Department, former head of security at the S.C. School for Deaf and Blind and at Metler-Toledo for American Security. He was a life member of the Glendale Masonic Lodge #271, past patron of the Glendale OES #175 and of the Pentecostal faith. He was a Naval Veteran of WW2 serving on the USS Douglas L. Howard in the Pacific Theater and was a member of the Naval Reserve.
Survivors include three daughters, Gayle Taylor Decker and husband Rick of Glendale, Kathryn Coates and husband Terry of Spartanburg, Lisa Martin and husband Eddie of Conway; a sister, Margaret Worley of Boiling Springs; a brother, James H. “Bo” Burgess of Glendale; a special friend Annette Erwin of Pacolet; eight grandchildren and twenty one great and step great grandchildren.
Funeral services at Floyds Greenlawn Chapel with interment with Masonic rites following in the Greenlawn Gardens”

Writer’s comments; The Luther and Nellie Burgess family were wonderful people. I have never heard a ill word against any of them. Leroy had four siblings; Helen Burgess who married D. B. Mabry, Margaret Burgess who married Morris Worthy, James Harold “Bo” Burgess who married Dorothy Jean Lewis and Doris Burgess who married Frank Wall Sr. James Harold “Bo” Burgess bought one of the first houses built by Dr. Bivings, founder of the mill. It had been restored and looks great. “Bo”, his wife and his parents lived in it together until their death. “Bo” lives in the house today and it still looks good today. After his first wife died, Bo married “Dee” Bright. I see and talk with “Bo” once or twice a month, he always greets you with a big smile and a warm handshake. He’s a great guy, a dear friend of this writer.

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All Census and Obituaries records, courtesy of the Spartanburg Country Library.
Written August 2013
Clarence E. Crocker

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