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James Samuel Burton, native of Richmond, Kentucky, was born August 1, 1936, to the late Albert and Callie Burton. He departed this life on January 21, 2020. He was the oldest of two children. James graduated from Richmond High School in 1954; Berea College, Berea, Kentucky in 1958 with a B.S. in Physical Chemistry; Howard University, Washington, D.C., with an M.S. and Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry in 1962 and 1964, respectively. In 1959, James began a 60-year marriage to the love of his life, Ophelia Weaver. Their partnership was blessed with one daughter, Traci Michelle Burton, two granddaughters, Nia Atrian Roberson Levy, Maia Roberson (Jacob Green) and two great-grandchildren, Avery Roberson Green and Wyatt James Emerson Levy. Their careers kept them in Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia, where he worked in various private industries, and as a senior executive in the Federal Government, Department of the Interior where he retired from the US Geological Survey in 2001. While in Virginia, James was a member of the United Christian Parish for over 45 years, where he was active in various capacities, most notably as a member of the Parish Board. James and his wife built their final home and moved to Huntsville, AL in January, 2015. They joined the Asbury United Methodist Church, where he later sang in the choir. James valued three things: his family, pursuit of knowledge, and travel. He wanted enough grandchildren and great grandchildren to slide down banisters and swing from chandeliers, and was delighted to spend his final holidays surrounded by all of his family. His love of learning drew him into continuing education courses virtually every year of his life after his professional degrees were completed. A scientist to the end, when he wasn’t traversing the globe, he could be found drafting proposals for curbing and converting CO2 emissions and the sustainable desalination of our oceanic water resources. And he certainly traveled extensively abroad, including: London, Paris, the Mediterranean, South Africa, China, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South Korea - as a Black Belt in Tai Kwon Do. He also visited Hawaii, Alaska, and almost all of the contiguous United States. James is survived by his wife, Ophelia, his daughter Traci, his two granddaughters, his two great-grandchildren, his sister Ruth Burton Gaylord of Lexington, KY, and a host of nieces and nephews.
Monday, January 27, 2020
11:00am - 12:30pm (Central time)
Monday, January 27, 2020
Starts at 12:30pm (Central time)
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