Burr Tolles

Burr Elmer Tolles Jr.

Friday, May 4th, 1951 - Thursday, November 28th, 2019
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Burr Elmer Tolles Jr., 68, of Paw Paw, passed away on Thursday, November 28, 2019, at his home.

Mass of Christian Burial will take place on at 10:30 AM, Tuesday, December 3, 2019 at Holy Family Catholic Church, 500 W. St. Marys St., Decatur MI with Father Michael Rejent officiating. Burial will follow at Lakeside Cemetery. Friends may visit with the family on Monday, December 2, 2019 from 4 PM until 7:30 PM with the rosary being recited at 7:30PM at Newell Chapel, 83313 M51, Decatur. Memorial contributions may be made to Decatur VFW Post #6248, 560 N. Phelps St., Decatur, MI, 49045 or Shriners Hospital for Children, Those wishing to leave an online condolence may do so at

Burr was born on May 4, 1951, in Richland Center, WI, to Burr, Sr. & Ella (Harris) Tolles. On July 2, 1971, Burr married the love of his life, Helen Garza, in Fort Jackson, SC. In 1969, Burr enlisted in the United States Army and proudly served our country until 1996 when he retired as a Command Sargent Major. While enlisted Burr also served in Infantry for two years, Helicopter Rep. for over 13 years and a Maintenance Senior Sargent for nine years.

After retiring from the Army, He went back to school and earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs. Burr worked as a special education teacher for 12 years before fully retiring. Burr was an active member in the Decatur VFW Post #6248, Decatur American Legion Post #309, Shriners, Buddy to Buddy Volunteer Veteran Program and The Masonic Lodge #0197 in Virginia. He was an avid Green Bay Packers fan, loved playing scratch off lottery tickets and reading books, specifically about history. However, what Burr loved the most was his family. He was an incredible man with a great sense of humor and will be missed dearly by all.

Burr is survived by his loving wife of 48 years, Helen; children, Tiger “Burr III” (Lani) Tolles and Dawn (Richard) Maes; grandchildren, Alexander Nelson, Kirsten Tolles, Jesse Tolles-Maes, Alisia (Jacob) Scheiler, Leeonzo Maes, Nicholas Silvia and Andrew Maes; great-grandchildren, Azucena, Leticia, Lyla, and Angelo; and brother, Joseph Tolles. He was preceded in death by his parents.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Monday, December 2nd, 2019 | 4:00pm - 8:00pm
    Monday, December 2nd, 2019 4:00pm - 8:00pm
    Newell Chapel
    83313 M-51
    Decatur, Michigan 49045
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Rosary will be recited at 7:30 PM.
  • Service

    Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019 | 10:30am
    Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019 10:30am
    Holy Family Catholic Church - Decatur
    500 W. Saint Marys St.
    Decatur, MI 49045
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    Lakeside Cemetery
    Decatur, Michigan 49045


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Private Condolence

Sheryl Lorge

Posted at 08:25pm
I went to school with Burr in Clintonville, WI. I knew he was destined to make a difference in people’s lives. I was saddened he was unable to be at our 50th class reunion in September. My sympathy to his family. RIP Burr.

Suzanne Perini

Posted at 09:54pm
Burr Tolles was without a doubt one of the best special education teachers I have ever known. Additionally, he had a stellar career ending as a Command Sergeant Major in the Army. This man won over numerous "hard cases" and kids on whom everyone else had given up. We will continue to miss Burr and will never tire of sharing our "Burr stories". You are missed, Burr, and you left so many kids in a way better place than they came from.

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