Burns Lance Tongate, 88 passed away peacefully at home on Monday, April 6, 2020.


A private family graveside service will be held at Greenleaf Cemetery. A memorial service will be held at Calvary Baptist Church in Brownwood to be announced at a later date. Services are under the direction of Heartland Funeral Home in Early.


Burns was born on Friday, Nov. 13, 1931 in Perryton to Charles and Margueritte Tongate and later moved to Early. He graduated from Early High School in 1950 and in 1953 he joined the United States Air Force. He married Billie Frances Hill on March 12, 1955. Just last month, they celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.


The Air Force took them to San Angelo, San Antonio and Waco in Texas; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Thule, Greenland; Lakenheath RAF, England; Fairfield, California and Bangkok, Thailand. While stationed in England, Burns and Billie along with other families established Sedge Fen Baptist Church in Lakenheath. During his time in the Air Force, they developed many lifelong friendships. He retired in 1973 as a Master Sergeant.


After his retirement from the Air Force, the family moved to Early. He began ranching with his father, graduated from Central Texas Commercial College with an Associate’s Degree and attended Howard Payne University. He went to work for the United States Postal Service as a Rural Carrier. He retired from the Postal Service after 20 years. After his second retirement, he worked full time as a rancher up until his death.


He loved God, his family, his church family, his cows, his Yorkshire terrier named Cotton, going to Storey auctions and traveling. He and Billie traveled to many different states in the US, and around the Globe with special friends. His favorite Birthday gift was his granddaughter, Ashley Morgan who was born on his birthday in 1990. He had a dry sense of humor and loved to tease people. He was an Honorary Grandpa to Wendy Madrid, Christopher Madrid, and David Nguyen of Irving and Kamrin McAfee of Brownwood. He loved to take them to the ranch and taught them how to drive his 4 Wheeler. Burns was very generous and was a wonderful Husband, Father and Grandfather. He was a member of Calvary Baptist Church in Brownwood for 47 years.


He is survived by his wife, Billie; son, Mark Tongate and wife Denise of Buckholts; daughters, Christie Tongate of Early, Suzanne Tongate-Carter and her husband Sammy of Mesquite; granddaughter, Ashley Morgan Tongate of San Marcos; sister-in-law, Mary Sue Inglet; and numerous nieces and nephews.


He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Margueritte Tongate; his brother, Jerry Tongate; and nephews, Steve and John Tongate.


In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Calvary Baptist Church in Brownwood.


Online condolences can be made to the family at www.heartlandfuneralhome.net.