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Elmer Burruss

Elmer Ellsworth “Sonny” Burruss, Jr., age 88, of Charlottesville, Virginia, went to be with his Heavenly Father Saturday, January 3, 2015.

Born in Richmond, Virginia, he was a son of the late Elmer E. Burruss, Sr., and Bessie Mae Burruss, and was reared in the greater Charlottesville, Virginia, area.

Sonny was a pioneer in the home building supply industry in Charlottesville, Virginia, as President of Home Building Supply located on Harris Street. He was an avid photographer as well as a steam engine enthusiast. Cass was his adopted home, where he was known as “the man with the red hat.” In an effort to support the preservation of railway history, Sonny produced an extensive photographic library of Cass Scenic Railroad State Park and the surrounding community, as well as other well-known rail yards. Sonny had several published photos and generously shared with West Virginia and Virginia Railroad societies. Sonny never met a stranger and one never walked away without learning a little piece of railroad history.

He is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Billie House Burruss; sons, Worth, and wife, Jan, and Stuart, and wife, Kathy; grandchildren, Laura Buzzard, and husband, Ben, Rachel Burruss and Jeffrey Burruss; a great-grandson, Riley Buzzard; a sister, Dudley Gaines; a niece; three nephews; and his dear friend, Milton Mozie.

The Burruss family extends their deepest gratitude for the loving support over the years from Milton, Mr. Duane Morris, as well as the loving care provided by Dr. Fox and the entire Fox and Brantley and Martha Jefferson Hospital teams.

No formal services are planned.

Memorial donations may be made to Charlottesville Albermarle Rescue Squad, P. O. Box 160, Charlottesville, VA 22902; Mountain State Railroad & Logging Historical Association, (MSR&LHA), c/o Robert Hoke, Treasurer, 6304 Kaybo Street, Laurel, MD 20707; or the National Railway Historical Society, (NRHS), Rivanna Chapter, 5461 James River Road, Wingina, VA 24599.

Online condolences may be made at

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