Tobie was born in Borger, TX on January 15, 1939 to Erwin Quinton Barksdale and Verna Lee Nail. She graduated from Mission High School in the Rio Grande Valley, received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Pan American University in Edinburg, TX (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) and a Masters Degree in Special Education from Pan American University in Edinburg, TX. (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley).
On July 17, 1983 Tobie married James (Jimmy) Burns in Brownsville, TX.
Tobie had an extensive 40+ year career in Education that included working for the PSJA ISD, The Episcopal Day School (Brownsville, TX), The Brownsville Independent School District and St. Luke’s Episcopal School (San Antonio, TX). Her areas of expertise included Special Education, Department Supervision, Regulatory Compliance, Program & Curriculum Development, Budgeting and Community Representation.
She was a member of the First United Methodist Church, Brownsville, The Church of the Advent Episcopal, Brownsville, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, San Antonio and St. Mathews Episcopal Church, Austin.
While living in Brownsville, Tobie was a member of the Alpha Delta Kappa, Honorary Teacher’s Society (President), Council for Exceptional Children, Association for Children with Learning Disabilities, Texas Association for Education Diagnosticians (President) and Association of Brownsville Administrators. Tobie was a Member of the Gladys Porter Zoological Society and a volunteer with the Brownsville Swim Club.
Tobie had a passion for animals and rescued numerous dogs and cats from fates and lives that she did not feel were adequate, so she took over. Those loving animals included Getty (a Greyhound Rescue from Valley Race Park), Nico (a Belgian Malinois from San Antonio), Rascal and Sweetie (cat rescues from under her back deck), Tigger (cat rescue from Petco, grown pet adoption) Sassy (cat rescue at her garage door), Bibs (cat rescue at her front door) and most likely others that we may never know about. It was extremely obvious, that all these animals and others knew that being accepted by Tobie was a lottery win that could never be replaced or equaled. Tobie also had a passion for bird watching, the San Antonio Spurs, Austin’s Tuesday Book Review Club, supporting her grandchildren’s sports and educational activities and grandparenting her kid’s dogs and cats who knew “when Nonnie showed up”, treats and snacks were in hand.
Tobie is survived by her children, daughter Sheri Cowan, her son Quinton Cowan and his wife Karen Cowan and their children Carter Cowan and partner Kelli Love and Mackenzie Cowan all of Austin. Other survivors include Tobie’s sister Judy Perry and husband Kirby, stepson Jim Burns and wife Robyn and stepdaughter Philis Tompkins and husband Richard, plus numerous nieces and nephews and great nieces and great nephews. Lastly, Tobie is also survived by her loving dog Ginger who valiantly guarded and watched over her.
Tobie was preceded in death by her husband James (Jimmy) Burns of Brownsville, TX, her parents
Quinton and Verna Lee Barksdale of Austin, TX and stepson Johnny Burns of College Station, TX.
A graveside service will be held on Friday, December 15, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. at Cook-Walden/Capital Parks Cemetery in Pflugerville.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to the Alzheimer’s Association in Tobie Burns’ name. https://act.alz.org
The family would like to especially thank the doctors and nurses from St. David’s North 4th floor wing, Austin, TX, the many caregivers and staff with Tech Ridge Oaks (Assisted Living and Memory Care Facility) Austin, TX and Magnolia Hospice of Austin, TX.