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Donna Jean Tillotson Burleson
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Birth: Oct. 3, 1935
Black Hawk County
Iowa, USA
Death: Mar. 9, 2010
Taylor County
Texas, USA

Cross Plains, Texas -- Donna Jean Burleson, age 74, passed from the hands of her husband and daughter Tuesday morning, March 9, 2010 into the hands of God. She was an educator of almost 40 years of nursing students in Abilene, TX, Funeral services will be at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 14, 2010 at the First Baptist Church in Cross Plains with Pastor Ronnie B. White officiating; burial will follow in the Cross Plains Memorial Cemetery. She is beloved, and she will be missed.

Donna was born Oct. 3, 1935 in Waterloo, Iowa to Helen and William Cole Tillotson and was raised in Jesup, Iowa. She attended nursing school in Iowa at the Allen Memorial Hospital Nursing Diploma Program. She scored the highest in the state nursing exam upon graduation. She shared this important fact on her first date with USAF Lt. John Burleson, who was stationed at the Chanute AFB in Rantoul, Illinois. They met at the First Baptist Church where John was teaching a class. After a seven month engagement, they were united in marriage on April 27, 1957 in Waterloo, Iowa. They lived in Ardmore, Oklahoma, Nashville, Tennessee, Jacksboro, Texas, Las Vegas, Nevada, El Tigre and Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela before settling in Cross Plains, TX for the last 41 years. While in Venezuela, she honed her skills in golf, a game which her mother had taught her and which she passed on to her sons, and became fluent in Spanish. She was able to use her language skill and her compassion for others after moving to Texas working at the Migrant Clinic in De Leon, TX and assisting in communications between local farmers and their migrant workers.

In 1972, Donna joined Cisco Junior College as a faculty nurse instructor and helped to build the Licensed Vocational and Registered Nurse programs in Abilene. It became her life's work. She achieved the position of Chair of Health Occupation Education at the college. She earned her Bachelors degree in Nursing from Angelo State University and two Masters Degrees, one from ACU, another from Texas Tech University while managing the nursing programs for CJC. Donna was a person with a love of learning and teaching, and she enjoyed showing her children and her students (as well as her husband) the wider world beyond their experience.

Donna also served the First Baptist Church of Cross Plains for 41 years, teaching Sunday school classes and actively participating in church life. She was devoted to her faith and to God, and her final days were comforted by that faith and the visits of her friends and family. When asked if she was frightened about what lay ahead, she replied, "No?just curious". She was in more pain than she would admit to during these last few weeks, but she is now at peace with the angels.

Donna waged a 4 year battle with breast cancer. She was treated at Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene, Texas, under the care of Dr. Ralph Heaven, who had studied with Dr. Dan Von Hoff of the Translational Genomics Institute. A memorial fund has been established in Donna's name at the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix. AZ; her daughter-in-law, Tess Burleson is the Chief Operation Officer. The fund will be used for breast cancer research. If you wish to donate to the fund, you can visit the website, or send your donation to: Donna Burleson Memorial Fund, TGen Foundation, 400 E Van Buren, Suite 850, Phoenix, AZ 85004

She was survived by her husband John Dee Burleson of Lake Brownwood; daughter Ruth Ellen Hutchins and husband Ronnie of Potosi; sons, Bill Burleson and wife Tess of Phoenix, AZ and Matt Burleson and wife Susan Ann of Mabank; sister Colene Sachanowski and husband Alan of Emigrant, MT; six grandchildren Jessi Ruiz, Clint, Katharine (Morris) and Kyle Hutchins, Amanda and Cole Burleson.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Cole and Helen Tillotson and brother-in-law, Don Burleson.

Visitation will be Saturday from 6 o 8 at Higginbotham Funeral Home.

Abilene Reporter News, 12 March 2010 
Family links: 
  William Cole Tillotson (1912 - 1996)
  Helen L Tillotson (1911 - 2008)
  John Dee Burleson (1934 - 2014)*
*Calculated relationship
Cross Plains Memorial Park
Cross Plains
Callahan County
Texas, USA
Created by: Ken Jones
Record added: Mar 15, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 49771643
Donna Jean <i>Tillotson</i> Burleson
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Johnny Egger
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- Peg
 Added: Aug. 5, 2010

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