Obituary— Thomas Leary
Thomas Buttrill Leary passed away peacefully in Midland, Texas December 30, 2020. A funeral mass was held on January 6th at St. Mary’s Catholic church for family in Marathon, Texas at 1:00 p.m. with graveside immediately following at the Marathon Cemetery for friends and family.
Tom was born on the Buttrill Ranch in Brewster County Texas, September 18, 1925. After graduating from San Angelo Central High School, he attended The University of Texas in Austin. Tom then enlisted in the United States Army and was sent to Europe in 1944. He served in Gen. George S. Patton’s 3rd Army, the 6th Armored division, and the 50th Armored Infantry Battalion.
Tom was critically wounded in battle January 2, 1945 in The Battle of the Bulge. He was evacuated to England and eventually back to Texas in April 1945. His awards include the Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge, and European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign (EAME) ribbon with 2 bronze battle stars for campaigns in Northern France and Belgium-Luxembourg.
Upon his discharge and return to San Angelo Tom began work for the Veterans Administration, a job he would later continue for the next 41 years as County Service Officer for Brewster and Jeff Davis Counties. As a Champion of Veterans rights, he was instrumental in the passing of legislation that became known as the “Leary Bill”, beneficial to enlisted men who received battlefield commissions.
Tom met and married Mary Anne Russell on April 30, 1949 in San Angelo, Texas. The couple moved back to the Buttrill Ranch in 1954 with sons Mike, Pat, and Tim. A fourth son, Kevin was born in 1963. There Tom and his wife ranched and reared their family for the next 45 years, before moving to Midland. He loved West Texas ranch life. Tom and his wife especially enjoyed providing lodging for geology students, hunters and family visitors.
He was preceded in death by his grandparents Lucius Featherstone Buttrill and Margaret Buttrill, parents Francis Thomas and Lou Anna Leary, and his wife of 54 years Mary Anne Russell Leary.
Tom is survived by his brother Jim Leary and family of Lubbock, Texas, and four sons —Mike and wife Sheila Leary of Austin ;Pat and wife Judy Leary of Granbury; Tim and wife Rexanne Leary of Marathon; Kevin and wife Salem Leary of Midland, Texas. Tom is also survived by 11 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.
The family asks that In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Marathon Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 431 Marathon, Tx 79842 or to Hospice.