Retired U.S. Army Maj. Derwood E. "Ed" Burleson, of Waco, a World War II and Korean War veteran who embraced his family and his Texas heritage with equal passion, passed away Thursday night at Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center after a short illness. He was 95. Ed will be laid to rest with full military honors during a graveside service at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at LaSalle Cemetery on FM 1953, which runs north from State Highway 164 seven miles east of Groesbeck, near where he was born on Dec. 28, 1919, to Thomas E. and Ella May Burleson. The Rev. Eric Howell of Dayspring Baptist Church will preside. Ed was a storyteller whose Texas roots ran deep; his ancestors included Edward Burleson, a soldier and statesman who was elected vice president of the Republic of Texas in 1841. He lived and loved history, growing up in rural Limestone County in the horse-and-plow 1920s, coming of age during the hard scrabble years of the Great Depression, and going to war as part of the Greatest Generation. He graduated from Groesbeck High School, earned a bachelor's degree from North Texas State University and worked as a schoolteacher in the LaSalle community until World War II, when he joined the U.S. Army, serving as a critical medical officer during the D-Day Invasion of Normandy and later with a MASH unit in Korea. He received his commission from the U.S. Army's Officer Candidate School and later earned master's degrees from the University of Pittsburg and the Baylor School of Hospital Administration. He served for 20 years in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps as both a clinical psychologist and hospital administrator before he retired and returned to Groesbeck. Ed became a Christian as a boy and mentioned often that he was baptized in a stock tank. He joined Dayspring Baptist Church in Waco after his move from Groesbeck. "I have led a wonderful life, and when God is ready to call me home, I'm ready," he told family and staff during his final hospital stay. Ed was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, retired Army Capt. Susan Rains Burleson, son Bryant Burleson, and his brother, Herman B. Burleson and his sister, Elvira Hoskins. He's survived by daughters Dana Renschler and husband Richie of Waco, and Dr. Cassy Burleson of Lorena; and a daughter-in-law, Debby Burleson of Waco. Also three grandchildren, Army Maj. Clint Edward Burleson of Phoenix, Ariz., and wife Tiffany; Skyler Baty and husband Robbie of Dallas; and Jasa Jordan and husband Aaron Paliakoff of Carolina Beach, N.C. Also three great-grandchildren, Brody Burleson, Reagan Ann Burleson, and Tripp Edward Burleson, all of Phoenix. He also leaves behind two nieces, Janet Hoskins and Roxie Davis, and a dear friend, Terry Wilson. In lieu of flowers, please consider contributions to Dayspring Baptist Church at 7900 Renewal Way, Waco, TX 76712, or to the LaSalle Cemetery Association at P.O. Box 215, Groesbeck, TX 76642.
Sunday, October 18th, 2015 2:30pm, La Salle Cemetery