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Thomas A. Burkholder

July 30, 1921 January 8, 2019
Thomas A. Burkholder
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Obituary for Thomas A. Burkholder

Thomas Allen Burkholder, 97, Catasauqua funeral director for more than 50 years, died yesterday at his home in Allentown. His wife, Anna (Zachar) Burkholder died in 2004.

Mr. Burkholder and his father operated the Oliver S. Burkholder Funeral Homes at Third and Walnut Streets in Catasauqua and Hanover Avenue in East Allentown. When Oliver Burkholder died in 1961, the Catasauqua funeral home became known as the Thomas A. Burkholder Funeral Home. It is now the Brubaker Funeral Home, owned and operated by John Brubaker and his son, Andrew Brubaker.

Mr. Burkholder was born in Allentown. In addition to his wife and father, he was predeceased by his mother, Julia (Frederick) Burkholder, and his three sisters, Elizabeth Wolfe, Ruth Fenstermaker, and Catherine Sceurman.

Mr. Burkholder enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1943 and was stationed in France, Belgium and Germany as a member of the 2nd Armored Division known as “Hell on Wheels.”

He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was part of the first American forces to enter Berlin on July 4, 1945. He served as an honor guard for President Truman and other members of the Big Three Council Meeting at Potsdam. His unit was awarded a presidential citation. He individually received the Good Conduct Medal, the Distinguished Unit Badge, two Bronze stars and WWII victory medals.

In a letter he wrote to his daughter on July 15, 1945 from Berlin on official Adolf Hitler stationery, he said:

“These Germans are a defeated race at present and had been swept off their feet by a fanatic Nazi who utterly ruined their country. It will take many years to rebuild this nation. Yesterday I was one of the Honor Guards for President Truman when he landed at Gatow Airfield in Potsdam. It was a very impressive ceremony and felt good to see some good American civilians again…”

Mr. Burkholder graduated from Catasauqua High School in 1939 where he was president of student council and a member of the basketball team. He graduated from Eckels Embalming School in Philadelphia. He was an elder at Salem United Church of Christ in Catasauqua and was in charge of the renovation of the church in the 1950s.

Mr. Burkholder is survived by a son, Dr. Thomas Burkholder, of Allentown and his wife, Dr. Judith McDonald of Allentown, and a daughter, Carol, wife of Dr. Robert Leggett of Vienna, Virginia; five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at 11am Saturday January 12th, 2019 at Brubaker Funeral Home, Inc., 234 Walnut St. Catasauqua, PA 18032. His viewing will be from 9:30-11am Saturday at the funeral home. Interment to follow at Cedar Hill Memorial Park in Allentown. Memorial contributions may be made in his name to the American Legion Post 567, 1615 Sumner Ave, Allentown, PA or to the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org/donate‎.


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Previous Events

Visitation

Saturday

12

Jan

9:30 AM 1/12/2019 9:30:00 AM - 11:00 AM 1/12/2019 11:00:00 AM
Brubaker Funeral Home, Inc.

234 Walnut Street
Catasauqua, PA 18032

Brubaker Funeral Home, Inc.
234 Walnut Street Catasauqua 18032 PA
United States

Service

Saturday

12

Jan

11:00 AM 1/12/2019 11:00:00 AM
Brubaker Funeral Home, Inc.

234 Walnut Street
Catasauqua, PA 18032

Brubaker Funeral Home, Inc.
234 Walnut Street Catasauqua 18032 PA
United States

Cemetery Details

Location

Cedar Hill Memorial Park Final Resting Place

1700 Airport Rd
Allentown, PA 18103

1700 Airport Rd Allentown 18103 PA
United States

Memorial Contribution

Alzheimer's Association

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