Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Deputy Sheriff Theron Anthony Burnham

Polk County Sheriff's Office, Florida

End of Watch Friday, January 9, 1981

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Reflections for Deputy Sheriff Theron Anthony Burnham

The killer of Deputy Sheriff Theron Burnham (Paul Beasley Johnson) has died on death row. He died from natural causes after serving more than four decades. Our thoughts and prayers should go out to the friends families of Deputy Sheriff Burnham and the two other men (Ray Beasley and William Evans) who were murdered on the night of January 9, 1981.

John Haseltine

October 3, 2023

Rest in peace deputy Sheriff Burnham.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

January 9, 2019

T.A., As a Florida State Trooper I worked with your brother, Captain L.A. Burnham, a fine officer and honorable man. I knew you also and there was no finer officer or person than yourself.

I helped search for your killer and I regret we did not capture him during our search. Justice has been long overdue for you and your family. Sheriff Grady Judd has and is making every effort to see that justice will be done soon and I support his efforts.

T.A. You are missed and the world has lost a fine officer and gentleman. May God place stars in your crown. We miss you now and forever. You will not be forgotten.

Trooper Darrell E. Burnham (ret)
Florida Highway Patrol and Winter Haven PoliceDepartment

October 2, 2016

The Sheriffs of Florida and their deputies will never forget the sacrifice you and your family made to uphold our laws and protect society.

Your name has been inscribed on the Florida Sheriffs and the National Law Enforcement Memorial and in our hearts. May you forever rest in peace.

A scripture inscribed on the Florida Sheriffs Law Enforcement Memorial:

"Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called the children
of God." Matthew 5:9

Executive Director Steve Casey
Florida Sheriffs Association

August 20, 2016

Never forgotten. Thank you for your service and sacrifice.


January 9, 2016

TA was a great officer at Winter Haven Police Department and later at the Polk County Sheriffs Office. He enjoyed his work and was a dedicated officer and enjoyed helping others. I worked with him at WHPD and today still feel the loss of a great person and officer.

J.J. Stanton, Police Captain
Winter Haven Police Dept. 1972-2008

January 9, 2016

Still and always remembering this wonderful Deputy (Winter Haven Police Officer).
A great loss to these Departments, a wonderful addition in Heaven.

Kathy Rains, former Officer
Winter Haven, Fla PD 1973-1976

June 26, 2015

We will never forget... Continue to rest in peace Deputy Burnham.

Deb Azure
Mother of Deputy Renee Danell Azure
EOW 08/06/02
Union County SO, Lake Butler, FL

January 9, 2013

Rest in Peace, Deputy Burnham. Your sacrifice is not forgotten.

Officer 11169

February 16, 2012

Your heroism and service is honored today, the thirty-first anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer who was murdered in the the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered.

Rest In Peace

Phyllis Loya
Mom of fallen California Officer Larry Lasater, Pittsburg PD, eow 4/24/05

January 9, 2012

Continue to rest peace hero, we will never forget the heroes who gave their all and you sir are a hero...

Deb Azure
Mother of Deputy Renee Danell Azure
EOW 08/06/02
Union County SO, Lake Butler, FL


January 9, 2012

Continue to rest in peace Deputy Burnham, we will never forget the heroes that gave their all for us, and you sir are a hero...

Deb Azure
Mother of Deputy Renee Danell Azure
EOW 08/06/02
Union County SO, Lake Butler, FL


January 9, 2012

We will never forget the HEROES who gave their all for us and their families. God bless you on your EOW.

Deb Azure
Mother of Deputy Renee Danell Azure
EOW 08/06/02
Union County SO, Lake Butler, FL


January 9, 2011

Justice will be served soon; rest in peace.

Wife of LEO

October 7, 2009

Rest in Peace D/S Burnham, Your service and sacrifice will never be forgotten! Thank You and May GOD Bless ALL who serve and protect us like you did! The BLUE LINE will NEVER be broken or forgotten!

Detention Deputy G. Carew
Seminole Co. Sheriff's Office, FL

January 11, 2009

T.A. today marks year 27. Time has passed so quickly. Thanks for pinning on the tin and for being my friend. I thought about you all day. This morning was much like the one the day you were killed. A major incident on Interstate 4 took several lives during the early morning hours. A very horrific scene and a long duty day. The early morning call reminded me of the shock and horror of you being taken on that day 27 years ago.

I saw Cindy at the emergency room a few weeks ago. She is doing fine. She is such a great lady.

I will never forget. I feel you were there with us today. Thanks for watching out for the first responders and the rookies. I miss you my friend.


Captain Kevin W. Widner
Polk Sheriff's Office

January 9, 2008

You are remembered today and thank you sir for your service

Pat Van Den Berghe, Manchester, NH
Neighbors for a Better Manchester, NH

January 2, 2008

"The Badge"
He starts his shift each day
To respond to calls unknown.
He drives a marked patrol car.
A police officer he is known.
He's paid by the citizens' taxes
To make it safe on the streets.
But he usually has a second job
'Cause a waitress has his salary beat.
Now he doesn't know a holiday
'Cause he works all year round.
And when Thanksgiving and Christmas finally arrive
At his home he cannot be found.
He's cursed and assaulted often,
The one whos blood runs blue.
He seldom ever gets a thanks,
To some he's just a fool.
His friends are always other cops
'Cause people just don't understand
That underneath his badge and gun,
He's just another man.
He knows there might not be a tomorrow
In this world of drugs and crime.
And he gets so mad at the court system
'Cause the crooks don't get any time.
And each day when he leaves for work,
He prays to God above.
Please bring me home after my shift
So I can see the ones I love.
But tonight he stops a speeding car,
He's alone down this ole' highway.
It's just a little traffic infraction.
He does it everyday.
Well, he walks up to the driver's window,
And his badge is shining bright.
He asked the guy for a driver's license,
When a shot rang through the night.
Yes, the bullet hit its mark,
Striking the officer in the chest.
But the Department's budget didn't buy
Each officer a bullet-proof vest.
So he lay on the ground bleeding.
His blood wasn't blue - His blood was red.
And briefly he thought of his loved ones
'Cause in a moment the officer was dead.
In the news they told the story
Of how this officer had died.
And some who listened cared less,
But those who loved him cried.
Well, they buried him in uniform
With his badge pinned on his chest.
He even had his revolver,
He died doing his best.
Written By:
David L. Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Department
Columbia, South Carolina
Used with Special Permission of the Author
Copyright © 1999 - All Rights Reserved
and may not be duplicated without permission

Investigator David L Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Dept., Columbia, SC

October 4, 2007

I can't beleive it's been so long since you were taken from us. I think back to those years and am so glad that I saw you a week before. With the killing of Matt & DiOGi, it made me think wayyy back to our years of growing up together. You were my bowling partner for so long when we were younger! You were the only one my parents would let drive me to the different tournaments that we bowled knew a good person when they met you! I still think and talk about you often and will never forget you. I know your up there now with Micky, Matt, Brian, Larry & Gary tell them Hi for me. You are gone, but we will never forget you!

Diane Dodge
Polk County Sheriff's Office ~Bartow~

December 5, 2006

Officer Burnham and his family were/are great people, I was
just remembering things..we have another officer down, Matt Williams, and it just reminded me. We didn't have the internet then, but I went to the funeral, because a friend of Tab's (officer Burnham) used to bait shiners up for us...

it was a sad day, and I just want all these punks out of here.

Thanks TAB, you are in heaven with my daughter and my Dad, but are not forgotten..

Owen Crosby
citizen of Winter Haven, Florida

October 3, 2006

Recent events have brought to mind our brief friendship, love of fishing and reloadind. A shared love of the outdoors. You were always an inspiration and have remained so through my life. God bless you and don't catch them all before I get there!

Gary L. Malone

September 30, 2006

Theron, it's been 25 years since you left us, but there are still times when all the memories come flooding back...

With the death of Deputy Matt Williams two days ago and all the media coverage and subsequent manhunt for his killer, it was like Jan. 1981 all over again. I could not stop thinking about Corky (yes, he finally made Sheriff as we always knew he would)and all the other guys you worked with who are still with the S.O. and how difficult it must have been for them to relive the whole experience.

I didn't know Matt, but from the accounts in the paper it sounds like the two of you were alike in some ways...the sense of humor, being a jokester, enjoying people and being liked and appreciated by so many. You are still missed.

Love you.

Cindy (Burnham) Lee

September 30, 2006

Deputy Sheriff Theron Anthony Burnham. I just wanted to say a few words. I looked you up this evening while locating a friend on this website. I had the privledge to work for your brother Kieth while in the NAVY. He has told me of your ultimate sacrifice and i wanted to tell you how proud i am of you and that you are not forgotten. If you were anything like your brother kieth it would have been my privledge to know you . Rest easy and thank you for your service. All my love.
P.O. Michael Weiss, NYPD.

P.O. Michael Weiss

July 20, 2006

Our deepest sympathy goes out to the family, friends and all the members of the Polk County Sheriff's Office. We were made safer by his service and we all suffer their tragic loss. The family of Deputy Burnham deserves our appreciation and gratitude for their sacrifice. No greater love has a man than the will to give his life for another. In the days to follow, may you be strengthened by the fact that Deputy Burnham is a man distinguished by exceptional courage and will always be admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities. You, your family and your sacrifice will never be forgotten.

Tom Doyle
Cary Police Department, North Carolina

June 8, 2006


My friend, It's been a long time since you left us. I will never forget the night you became one of God's warriors. You worked zones 6 & 7 by yourself on my birthday because I was off. I wished I could have road with you that night like we road many times before. See you on the other side. Love Mike #276

Sgt. Mike Walden (retired)
Lakeland PD

August 9, 2005

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