In Memory

Tom Burditt

Tom Burditt made it clear that he did not want a typical obituary. He didn't want an endless list of facts about his life, like he was born in Abilene, Texas, to Dr. and Mrs. Frances Burditt on February 6, 1950 (delivered by his grandfather Jesse Burditt, M.D.). Or that he got his B.S. from Texas A&M, or that he earned a master's degree in Social Work at the University of Houston, where he met his first wife, Joan. Or that he spent 30 years as a psychotherapist in Austin, or that he shot a hole-in-one on three separate occasions. (He didn't think this was a remarkable accomplishment and probably didn't want it included.)

Instead, Tom thought folks might enjoy the profound lessons he learned in his 63 years of life. Here's his advice: If the Aggies lose, don't blame the refs, it's bad form. Don't ever act like you're hugging a girl when you're really looking over her shoulder, watching football on TV. You'll get caught. Make a lot of girl friends, not girlfriends (wise words from his father). If you put broccoli down the disposer, be sure not to wait two days to turn it on. Try not to run over the feet of your golf partners with the golf cart. If cancer steals your ability to swing a golf club, get a couple of friends to hold you up by the back of the belt and take that swing anyway.

Tom often said of his illness: "The gifts were more than the struggle." Having cancer gave him the opportunity to make new friends, whether they were doctors, nurses, technicians, people who cleaned his hospital room, or drivers who took him to appointments. One of these gentlemen came to his home twice to visit with him on his own, bringing his young daughter to meet Tom.

Another gift was meeting his second wife, Nancy. When Tom and Nancy first met, she wasn't sure he had the required verbosity to suit her nature. He assured her that he could tell so many stories she'd have to go to an ear doctor after listening to all of them. This was not far from the truth.

Tom's love for country dancing was legendary, and even when cancer robbed him of his ability to navigate the chaos of the Broken Spoke dance floor, he and Nancy would still go to Ginny's Little Longhorn and do their own version of boot scootin'. He was unstoppable when it came to having fun.

Tom was in cahoots with a wide-ranging group of lifelong friends, as well as new friends he made almost every day. He loved people, and if they weren't laughing or at least smiling, he remedied that right away. Most people left him better for being in his company. There was always room for one more friend at his table.

One of his friends wrote: "You nurtured your friends like a passel of little children. Your friendships are your children and you are a good parent."

Tom possessed the rare combination of piercing intelligence and wisdom, and a generous giving and forgiving nature. He was the kind of person you would hope to meet and know at least once in your lifetime.

He had a soft spot for the underserved and the underrepresented.

In the 1980s, Tom was a pioneer in the state of Texas in the development and implementation of sex-offender treatment that saved many potential victims from sexual abuse. He was relentless in the pursuit of protecting children's rights. To this day, many sex-offender therapists have adopted and continue to follow his approach in treating predators. This is a part of his legacy.

Near the end of his life, he found an old post card that belonged to Nancy's mom, Jeanne, with a picture on the front depicting the Light that we approach as we move toward death. He was deeply touched by the writing on the back. The words reflected what he believed: "I see myself along with millions of other pilgrims walking along the path toward the curtain that separates us from eternity. Thanks to the Light of the World, the inconceivable light that welcomes us is full of hope and glory and peace. Thank you for allowing me to share in your lives. I have treasured our time together. I'll see you on the other side of the curtain."

Tom walked through the curtain to the Light on October 6th having enriched the lives of his survivors: his wife, Nancy Elliott Burditt; her children, Jennifer Coy of Austin and Christopher Coy and wife Heather Coy of Austin; his mother, Frances Burditt of Abilene; his sister Leigh Daniels and her husband Tim of Tulsa, OK; numerous cousins including Jess Burditt of Bryan, TX., Charles Burditt and his wife Pam of Conroe, TX., Petra Bray and her husband George of Tucson, AZ., Jimmy Cross of Flagstaff,AZ., Dana Lee Mendenhall of California ; and his former wife, Joan Muller of Boulder, CO.

Tom was predeceased by his father, Dr. Tom C. Burditt of Abilene, TX.

The family would like to thank his caregivers for their attentiveness, friendship and for putting up with his "madness" including Pam, Stephanie, Melissa and Rosetta. They would also like to thank Dr. Fain and Dr. Dzuik for their amazing care.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Austin Child Guidance Center or CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates).

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, November 1, 2013 at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 3125 N. Lamar. Following the service, we will gather at 4pm. at Scholz Garten, 1607 San Jacinto Blvd. to continue the celebration of Tom's life.