Thomas Richburg
(1925 - 2009)

Thomas Richburg

Maryland, United States of America
October 31, 1925

Maryland, United States of America
January 14, 2009

Music, Singing, Trains, History, Baltimore Ravens, Israel Baptist Church
Thomas Richburg made it into heaven on Wednesday, January, 14, 2009, at 11:09 pm.

This site was created by his step-daughter, Dionne Nicole Curbeam, for our family and friends to share their messages of sympathy, condoles, and memories of our dearly departed Thomas Richburg.



The day of October 31, 1925 was a blessed day. On this day, God blessed Julius and Isabell Riley Richburg, Sr. with their youngest of three children: a baby boy they named Thomas. Reared in East Baltimore, Thomas was naturally curious, well-mannered, and enjoyed learning. He entered Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. There, he excelled in football, sang in many musical recitals, and studied woodworking. In May of 1944, he graduated from Dunbar. On June 20th of that same year, Thomas enlisted in the Navy.

Having a military career was not Thomas’ desire. Sure, he loved serving his country, but he had a greater ambition: music. After being honorably discharged on April 3, 1946, Thomas continued to give musical recitals and began performing on the radio and on television. He received much acclaim and awards, including winning first place on the Saturday Night Bailey Goss National Amateur Time on WMAR-TV with his rendition of “Asleep in the Deep.” Due to his stellar basso profundo voice and superb performance ability, he won scholarships to both Morgan State College and Howard University. He accepted the scholarship from Morgan and studied there for one year. Although he enjoyed learning, he loved his family and, being a man of God, knew it was his responsibility to ensure their wellbeing. In order to properly support his family, he left Morgan to acquire full-time employment. Although he did not finish Morgan, he committed himself to lifelong learning by: studying voice under the tutorship of John Evans at the Baltimore Institute of Musical Arts; earning a certificate in Practical Electronics and Television Servicing from the Radio Electronic Television Schools, Incorporated (RETS) on September 6, 1960; and reading a wide array of books and magazines on various subjects.

Once leaving Morgan, Thomas began working at the Joseph E. Seagram and Sons, Incorporated. During his career at Seagram's, he held various positions, with his last being Tank Room Coordinator of Special Products. His co-workers often said he was an even-tempered, peaceful man. In fact, one co-worker recalled that even in the midst of chaos and crisis, Thomas would remain calm and walk with that “Richburg walk.” On March 2, 1990, he received the 1989 Quality Person of the Year award. A portion of his nomination stated, “For the past twelve years, Tom has been the principle reason for the efficient operation of the Special Products Tankroom. Tom anticipates problems from the Bottling Floor, he understands the workings of the technicians in the lab, and he is constantly looking for the best way to produce the product at the minimum cost in both time and money. His attendance record is excellent and he communicates extremely well with everyone in the department. Tom is recognized not only in Special Products, but also in N.Y. Research as an authority on all matters in the Tankroom.” On January 1, 1991, after 44 years of excellent service, Thomas retired from the company.

Many would use retirement to sit and become idle. Not Thomas! This avid reader, train enthusiast, and history buff continually stayed abreast on issues impacting his community, nation, and world by watching 60 Minutes, the History Channel, CNN, and The Learning Channel. In his retirement, he taught himself how to use computers and perform minor computer troubleshooting. More importantly, he had the opportunity to dedicate a significant amount of time to Israel Baptist Church. When Thomas retired, Israel was in the beginning stages of building a new edifice. Thomas worked countless hours with the consultants, architects, contractors, city officials, and financial institutions. He would research the vacant properties, contact the city officials, and recommend to the church which properties to purchase. On Sunday, August 22, 2004, he reaped the fruits of the labor when Israel marched into their new edifice on Preston and Washington Streets. At the time of his passing, Thomas was very excited about having a new Church Clerk’s Office in the upcoming Link Building.

Another important piece in Thomas’ life was his family. In 1945, Thomas married the former Mary Woolford. From this union, three children were born: Thomas James, Jacqueline Victoria, and Anthony. Although this marriage ended in divorce, he remained a faithful and loving father to his children. Several years later, he married the former Helen Bogier, and their marriage produced two children: Casandra Denise and Robert Lewis. Thomas and Helen were married for 37 years, only for their union to end upon Helen’s passing on February 6, 1990. Later in life, Thomas was blessed with another son, Elliott Richburg.

Some would think that after two opportunities for love, a third time would be impossible. Not so! On February 14, 2008, Thomas married the former Dorothy Mae Bonner (his “Dolly Mae”). Not only did Thomas gain a wife on February 14th, but he also gained a daughter, Dionne Nicole. Although Thomas and Dorothy were married for eleven months, their love story began fifteen years prior to their marriage.

Reflecting on his life, Thomas had many accomplishments, participated in many organizations, and was a first-hand witness to history. One of his most treasured performances occurred on Sunday, January 3, 1960, when he was presented in recital by Israel Baptist Church. Another immense moment was on December 16, 1964, when he served as a guard for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Maryland Freedom Rally. He even received Dr. King’s autograph! On November 8, 1966, Thomas was elected and installed as Worshipful Master of Hannibal Lodge, No. 8 of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge, F. & A. M., Incorporated. He received the opportunity to visit New York City to sing on national telecast of the Ted Mac Amateur Broadcast. In addition, he was a member of the American Legion.

In spite of all of his accomplishments, triumphs, and successes, there was one thing more important: his relationship with Jesus Christ. Thomas received Christ as his personal savior and was baptized at the Israel Baptist Church of Baltimore City on January 1, 1937 by the late Rev. Dr. Edmond D. Meade. As a life-long member of the church, he actively served on many ministries and auxiliaries, including the Senior Choir No. 1 and No. 2, the Sanctuary Choir, the Male Chorus, the E. D. Meade Ensemble, the Building Team, and the Finance Ministry. In addition, he chaired several Annual Day Committees – such as Church Anniversary and Men’s Day – and was Chairman of the church’s Budget Committee.

Consequently, Thomas’ faithful service to the ministry resulted in him being appointed as Church Clerk in January 1983. On January 10, 1985, Thomas was ordained as a Deacon . He was humbled that God would call him for such awesome responsibilities. He was faithful in serving The Lord’s Supper to the sick and shut-in, ministering to the sick, maintaining the vital church records, and studying the Word of God. At the time of his passing, he was the Deacon Liaison for the Senior Citizens and Security Ministries. Although he did not consider himself a senior citizen, Thomas enjoyed sharing in their various activities, attending their meetings, and fellowshipping with the seniors.

He was a gentle giant. When Thomas spoke, people listened and respected his words. Many often sought Thomas for advice. Thomas would listen to whatever the person had to say and would speak pearls of wisdom. He loved his Pastor and was an advocate for him. Although the Chairman of the Deacon’s Ministry, Bro. James Gardner, was younger than him, Thomas had the utmost admiration and respect for him. Equally important, Thomas loved Israel, always wanted to maintain peace, and toiled for those things that would be in the best interest of the ministry.

But after many years of singing, working, reading, and serving in the vineyard, Thomas’ health began to decline. During the time that his health deteriorated, Thomas required many doctor’s visits, medications, and even dialysis treatments. Nevertheless, he did not complain. Whenever you saw him, he always had a smile on his face. Whenever you talked to him, he would share how God was blessing him and how “Dolly Mae” was taking good care of him. To the extent that his health allowed, Thomas continued to attend worship, participate in family events, go to cultural activities, and perform his ministry tasks. In fact, just a week before his passing, Thomas pressed his way to a Deacon’s meeting that was called by Pastor Wilson.

Understanding that Thomas’ road was getting rough and the hills hard to climb, God — on Wednesday, January 14, 2009, at 11:09 p.m. —visited the Greater Baltimore Medical Center and took Thomas from life on earth to life eternally. Thomas is in heaven with his parents, his brother, Julius, and his sister, Irene.

Remaining behind to treasure his memory and uphold his legacy is his: loving and devoted wife, Dorothy; children, Thomas James, Anthony (Staten Island, NY), Jacqueline Burgess (Philadelphia, PA), Casandra King, Robert, and Elliott; loyal and dedicated inherited daughter, Dionne Nicole; grandchildren, Thomas Demell Richburg (Las Vegas, NV), Jamal Burgess and his wife, Tisha (Alexandria, VA), Robert Richburg, Jr. and his wife, Danielle, Franklin Richburg, Robert King, Jr., Derron King, Marcus Richburg, Enon Richburg, Kia Richburg-Carr and her husband, Lonnie, Lisa Reed and her husband, Tommie, Jenae Richburg, and Aisha Simms; eight great-grandchildren; two daughters-in-law, Curray and Janice; one son-in-law, Robert King; devoted mother-in-law, Lillie Mae Bonner (Church Road, VA); three faithful nieces, Marva Thorne and her husband, Rufus, Joan Pryor and her husband, Roger, and Francine Richburg (they were his “girls” and assisted with his transportation to dialysis); one nephew, Julius J. Richburg, two loyal first cousins, John Riley and his wife, Maddress, and Leon Riley and his wife, Rebecca; sisters-in-laws Lorena B. Watson, Mary Wicks, Lucille Stallings, Jennie Stennett, Mildred Bogier, Shirley B. Walker (Church Road, VA), and Barbara DeBose (Chester, VA); devoted, lifelong friends Harmon & Georgia Bobbitt, Joseph & Shirley Eaddy, and James & Freddie Wright; family cats Snoopy and Lil’ Lady; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and the Israel Baptist Church family.

God, we give you honor and praise for the life of THOMAS RICHBURG.


Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers as they continue the healing process.


Friends and family are welcome to visit the family on the following days:
Sunday January 18, 2009
Monday January 19, 2009
Tuesday January 20, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009
2 pm to 7pm
Betts Funeral Home
1129 North Caroline Street (at the corner of East Biddle Street)
Baltimore Maryland 21213
* * The family will be at the public viewing from 5pm to 7pm

Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wake: 10 am to 11 am
Funeral Service: 11am
Israel Baptist Church of Baltimore City
1200 North Washington Street at 2000 East Preston Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21213

Tuesday, January 27, 2009
10:45 am to 11:00 am
Garrison Forest Veterans Cemetery

Guest Book Wall (What is this?)

Hover your mouse over the wall images to see each guest book entry.

Guest Book (20 entries)
Goodbye Deacon Richburg. We were blessed for many years with your beautiful bass voice at Israel Baptist church. I will always remember you for your warm, friendly smile, beautiful singing voice, and prominent presence at Israel Baptist Church, where my uncle Reverend Meade pastored for 38 years.
Camellia Blackwell-Taffel
July 20th, 2016
You will always be in my heart and thoughts. Miss you Thomas.
Love Dolly Mae
Dorothy Richburg (Wife)
April 17th, 2014
You greeted your daughter Casandra last Tuesday beyond those pearly gates. I know both of you are resting in the arms of Jesus.
Dionne Curbeam
November 13th, 2012
ELLIOTT Richburg (son)
November 1st, 2010
see what they mean know when they say time is everything i know now cuz i cant go back in time to the last time i saw you
ELLIOTT Richburg (son)
November 1st, 2010
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""Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.""
Delores Reaves
January 20th, 2009
"May the Grace, Peace Joy and Love of Christ comfort you and your family at this time, and cause your sorrow to be temporary. Dennis"
Dennis Roberts
January 20th, 2009
"May Thomas Richburg's memory be a blessing to you, inspiring you to strength and good works."
NancyLee Bergey
January 19th, 2009
"God provides us with a life full of wonderful experiences, and we know that everything that we experience, everything we think, feel and do is in divine order. May God continue to strengthen you and your family at your time of need. Peace, Vanessa J"
Vanessa Jackson
January 19th, 2009
"God will keep you in perfect peace if your mind stays on Him. Put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. He has graced your for this hour. Remember you are blessed and highly favored of the Lord. Stay strong my sister. Denyce"
Denyce WattiesDaniels
January 19th, 2009

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