Dick (Richard) Burroughs passed away at home in the arms of his family on February 26, 2023 after a heroic battle with cancer.
He was born in March of 1944 at St. Francis Hospital in Escanaba to Roy and Blanche (Pettit) Burroughs. He was raised in the Buckeye area of Gladstone and graduated from Holy Name High School in 1962. During his senior year, Dick was one of five senior starters on the undefeated 1961-1962 basketball team. After graduating high school, Dick spent two years in the US Army as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division from 1965 – 1967. He met Sue Kobasic, the love of his life, at his niece’s wedding. Wooed by the ever proper gentleman, Sue said, “yes,” and the two wed in November of 1967. Dick graduated from Western Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education, English and physical education. Shortly thereafter he and Sue relocated their young family back to Escanaba where he began his 32-year teaching career at Escanaba High School. Dick and Sue raised two children, Robb and Laura, in Escanaba surrounded by extended family and friends. Always a competitor, family and friends will remember Dick’s “love of the game” whether on the golf course or at the bridge table.
Dick is survived by his wife Sue; his son Robb Burroughs, daughter-in-law Colleen, grandchildren Cecilia, Maggie and Ben Burroughs; and his daughter Laura Archer, son-in-law Bill Archer, granddaughter Abigail Tepper, granddaughter Allison Marcelo, her husband Bernie and precious great grandsons Bernie Ivan and Leo James Marcelo; sister-in-law Ellie O’Donnell and her best friend Gary Severinsen; brother-in-law John and his wife Monica Kobasic; brother-in-law Rick Kobasic; brother-in-law Jeff and his wife Tina Kobasic; many beloved nieces and nephews, in particular the Snowaert and Burroughs nieces and nephews with whom he grew up; and his poker buddies of 47 years.
He was predeceased by his parents, Roy and Blanche Burroughs, his siblings, Kay Alko, Helen Snowaert, and Jack Burroughs, brothers-in-law Dick Alko and Charlie Snowaert, his grandson, Brian Burroughs, in-laws Mim and Ivan Kobasic, sister-in-law Connie Kobasic and best friends Pete Adamini, Doug Fix, John Toutloff, Tom Finlan, Fred Woelffer, Bob Bebeau, and Bob Shepich.
He loved his teaching profession intensely and was able to impact the lives of many young adults who have remained in contact with him for decades. As an educator, Mr. Burroughs, as he is still known to hundreds of grown adults, had incredibly high expectations of all of his senior English students. His belief in ALL youth having an opportunity to learn, to achieve, to succeed guided his decades of teaching. Early in his teaching career, Dick was the head cross country coach from 1971 – 1980 and distance coach for the EHS track team. He led the cross country teams to four UP State Cross Country Championships. For several years, Dick was involved in the Michigan Education Association and was incredibly proud to serve on the negotiating team for decades. Always humble about his impact, his family is comforted knowing his legacy of love, learning, and acceptance lives on in so many of his past students and runners. Mr. Burroughs would be thrilled to know that there are thousands of grown adults diagramming the sentences of his obituary! If born in a different era, Dick would have been a cowboy under the Big Sky. Enamored by this simple and courageous lifestyle, Dick sought similar adventures through his vast love of reading, his domestic and international travel with Sue – often shared with his kids and grandkids – and his love for learning about others and their cultures. An avid sports fan, Dick was loyal to the Lions, Tigers, Wolverines and Spartans, trying to show impartiality for two college teams despite his favorite maize and blue fleece. Being raised by a father nicknamed “Buck,” Dick was brought up with a great passion and appreciation for the mystery and beauty of the great outdoors. He shared the same with his children and grandchildren. Family experiences included many summers spent camping in a tent which expanded to a pop up camper and then their cottage on Lake Michigan. For many years, the family would spend days, weekends and weeks at the cottage which for two weeks every year became “hunting camp.” A talented athlete in his younger years prepared Dick to be a lifelong tennis player, an activity he cherished for decades each winter at their home away from home in Punta Gorda, Florida. Bumpa, as he is known to his grandkids and great-grandkids, will always be remembered for tennis lessons from the ever-patient Bumpa, the never ending raspberry sundaes and root beer floats, baking bread, his all white sneakers, family softball games, his made-up kids games and his unsolicited fashion advice. In the eyes of his family, Dick was their superman. In his own eyes, he was a simple servant of Christ – his faith was immovable – and a humble man of wisdom, kindness, and generosity. His life will be forever honored by those who knew and loved him.
The family will receive friends on Thursday, March 2 from 4:00 to 6:45 PM at the Skradski Family Funeral Home in Escanaba. Military Honors will be presented at 6:45 PM by the Delta County Veterans Council. A Rosary Prayer Service will follow at 7:00 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be on Friday, March 3 at 11:00 AM at the St. Joseph and St. Patrick Parish with Fr. Tim Ferguson.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be directed to the “Dick Burroughs Memorial Scholarship.
Doug and Bonnie - Gladstone, MI
Sue, Robb and Laura,
Our Hearts are aching with you. You lost a terrific husband and father. We lost an irreplaceable friend. Dick was special to many many people and his memory will always illicit a smile of approval for all that he represented. The Heavens are certainly welcoming a Great Addition.
Paula Alexander - Owosso, MI
Oh Laura! I’m so sorry. It’s never easy to lose your Dad. You’re in my heart.
Gerry Niedermaier - Wauwatosa, WI
I was so saddened to read of Dick’s passing. I have fond memories of playing baseball and fastpitch softball for many years.
He was a really great guy.
I am so sorry for your loss.
Heather Taylor - Escanaba , MI
Mr. Burroughs will always have a special place in my heart. He taught me so much about Greek mythology, how to be a better writer and everything English that I know. When I became a teacher I never to use red pen…he always used a green flair pen to grade papers. That stuck with me all these years and what a difference it makes on a graded paper to not see red marks all over it. He used that same pen to sign a graduation card for me…the only high school teacher I had to do so…it meant more to me than he’ll ever know. May he rest in peace with God.
George Milkovich - Linden, Mi
Sue I am so sorry to hear about Dick’s passing. I played with Dick on that 61/62 team and he was always very positive to me. At the all class reunion I was able to talk to him about the old days and he was gracious as he always was. So sorry for you Sue he was a good man who left us all too soon. Your old neighbor 2 blocks to the south: George
Judy (Lark) Harper - Durango, Co
So sorry to hear about the passing of Dick . He was always such a good and caring person . Have many fond high school memories and so remember our dates . He had a life well lived and will be truly missed by many . Sue my prayers are with you and your family
Michelle McDonough Romig - Chelsea, MI
Dear Robb & Family,
So very sorry for your loss. Your father was one of the best teachers at Escanaba and a wonderful person. Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.
Sue & Tom Harris - Bark River, Mi
Sue, Robb, Laura and families,
We are so saddened to learn of Dick’s passing and send our prayers and love. As parents, Dick was a shining educational star for our children and as a friend, he was always so welcoming and engaging when we had those rare opportunities to gather together. Our love and thoughts are with you all.
Janet Lindstrom - Escanaba, Mi
Dick was such a good man. He had a smile for everyone. He listened to you and you felt important. He was a dedicated teacher. I know he will be missed by family and friends. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.
Dan and Kathy Creten - Green Valley, Az
Sue and family,
We are so very sorry for your loss, and hold you all in our hearts.
Mark O Curran - Niceville, FL
Mr. Burroughs was one of my favorite teachers. He somehow made a teenager grasp his teachings and made it interesting. I was never a good student, but he made me one. Thank you sir
Janet and “Mr. Larry” Wilt - Owosso, MI
Laura, Bill, Abby, Allie , Bernie and family – We are so sorry for this great loss. Your eyes always showed how close you were with your dad, Laura, whenever you spoke of him, and your mom. Though we only met them a couple times, it was clear your parents were such very special people. We are thinking of you all, and sending hugs!
Don Hengesh - Petoskey, MI
My sympathies. It was wonderful that we got to sharer a evening of catching up and drinks at our 60th class reunion. You will be missed
Terry Duval - Escanaba, Mi
Dick was the consummate, professional teacher. He epitomized respect and excellence. Always professionally dressed and dedicated to his passion of teaching. He kept the standards for his students high, even as the bar was being lowered across the country. I worked with Dick as a professional negotiator for many years. Once again he was prepared, intelligent and professional. Many of the benefits the Escanaba teachers enjoy are directly related to the expertise and negotiating skills Dick, along with his wife, Sue brought to the table. God bless the entire Burroughs family.
Merry - Escanaba, MI
Thank you, Mr. Burroughs, for giving me a second chance. I became an English teacher, too. Like the comment above, I also appreciated the green pen instead of the red and carried that on in my classes. Thank you for the beautiful example you gave us all.
Gary Lehman - Escanaba, MI
Sincere condolences to Dick’s entire family. He was a decent human being! Rest in Peace Dick!
Kevin McCarthy - Cathedral City, CA
Sue, Robb and Laura,
I am so sorry for your loss. There are few people in life for whom every memory is a fond one, and Dick was that type of person for me. During our family visits he was always so genuinely kind and interested in what I was up to.
Thank you for being such wonderful friends to our family. I wish I could give you all a hug.
J. Kevin, Heather and Autumn McCarthy
Bonnie Westin - Gladstone, Mi
Sue, Robb, Laura and families, Words are difficult to find that can express the deep sadness I feel about Dick’s passing. The above tributes indicate what a well-loved and respected man he was, both in his profession and personal life. I have so many fond memories of the many happy times we shared. I especially remember how you, Sue, and he were so supportive and helpful during Fred’s long illness and passing. I wish I were there to do the same for you. My love and prayers to you all. Bonnie Woelffer Westin
Craig Bengry - Escanaba, MI
Our deepest sympathies, condolences to you all during this difficult time. A long, hard fought battle, gone too soon. He was my favorote teacher. Sorry we wont be able to attend services. Know youre all prayed for, I’ll get on those rosary beads. He was many things, admirable things but fashion police?
The Bengry family (Craig)
Paul L. Strom - Escanaba , Mi
It was 1973 . We went through Vietnam and Watergate. It was a hard time to be a teen. I was rebelling against authority, flunking.
Mr. Burroughs took me into his Senior English class. He smiled at me as if glad to see me. He let us do a special, nontraditional project. We made a photograpy to music slide show, set to John Denver’s “Take Me Home Country Roads.” Everyone loved it.
I learned respect for music, photography and choreography. For once, I liked school.
We all got As. I learned leadership, was able to graduate, and entered college with an encouraged attitude.
Thank You Mr. Burrough’s for your help in turning my life around. See you again when Country Roads Take me Home. Amen.
Paul L. Strom.
Mike and Cathy McCarthy - Kalamazoo, MI
I met Dick Burroughs when he transferred to Holy Name High School in our sophomore year. He, and subsequently his family, Sue, Robb and Laura, have been an important part of our lives since.
Dick and I visited each other frequently when he was at Western Michigan University and I was at the University of Detroit. We had a number of adventures hitchhiking back to Escanaba from our lower Michigan schools. He kept in touch when he went into the Army and gave me good advice on how to survive when I went in the Army. He honored me to be the godfather of his son, Robb. He and Sue stood up for Cathy and me when we married. Dick and Sue were present and supportive of us and our children all these years. Dick was a hero to our three sons being so kind and patient and caring showing them how to fish, taking them out in his boat, and other adventures. We have fond warm memories of trips with Dick and Sue and visiting each other in many and various places through the years. We enjoyed our visit in September last year to celebrate our 60th high school reunion.
We have lost an important person in our lives. Dick Burroughs will be missed greatly by Cathy and me and our children.
However, we find solace and hope in continuing our relationships with Sue, Robb and Laura.
Debbie Miller - Long Beach, MS
Mr. Burroughs was one of the great ones. Great teacher, great person. My deepest sympathy to all of his family and friends. May he rest in eternal peace.
Bud Lemire - Escanaba, MI
I had them both as teachers, and enjoyed them both very much. Living at The Harbor Tower, he lived across the street from from us. I recall one time stopping to talk to him as he was sitting on his porch. We talked about our common interest, our French Canadian Ancestors. Even then, he was correcting me on my Pronunciation of the French names. We didn’t talk very long, and in some ways I wish we would have talked longer.
A great man who will be remembered by many.
Judi Good LaCosse - ESCANABA, MI
Sue and family
My deepest smpathy to all of you. May our Heavenly Father bless Dick with eternal peace. Lifting you all up in prayer/
CHUCK YOUNG - EXMORE, VA
I would have to say Dick was one of my best friends growing up.We spent many hours playing sports and hitchhiking around the UP and down into wisconsin. Dick and I were also roomates our freshman year at WMU. He even spent a summer with me in chicago where my parents lived. We lost track of each other as the roads of life branched off, but I will always hold his memories dear to me.I am happy to read that he touched the hearts and minds of so many people.
Becky Hirn Haase - Ankeny , IA
Rest in peace Mr. Burroughs.
Justin Gluesing - Alpena, MI
Mr. Burroughs was my College Prep English teacher during the 1989-1990 school year. It was one of my favorite classes while in high school. Mr. Burroughs was kind, witty, professional, wise, welcoming, patient, and more. I was sad to learn of his passing, and I want to extend my best to his family. Peace to each of you.
Patricia Buckbee - Escanaba, MI
My sincere condolences for your family loss.Dick was an honorable man with a great sense of humor. I will remember him as a good man and friend.