Obituary: William Wallace Burton
Mar 13, 2014 | 1675 views | 0 0 comments | 250 250 recommendations | email to a friend | print

William Wallace Burton

Nov. 5, 1924 to March 3, 2014


Services will be held at a later date for longtime Ben Lomond resident William W. Burton who died peacefully at home in his sleep. He was 89.

Mr. Burton was born in Lakewood, Ohio to Charles A. and Myrtle Burton. He graduated from high school in Cleveland, Ohio before joining the Navy where he was trained as an officer. He reached the rank of Lt. Commander and was part of the Navy Seabee’s construction force. Trained as a civil engineer, Burton helped with the demolition and rebuilding of Hawaii after the attacks of WWII and served as a reservist for two decades.

After the war, Mr. Burton earned his Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Chicago where he met his wife Ann, who was an undergrad student. They couple was married in 1951.

The Burtons lived at the International House at the University of Chicago, where Mr. Burton developed an interest in global peace. They moved to the Bay Area in 1951 and Mr. Burton worked as a civil engineer, designing freeways for Caltrans including a stretch between Berkeley and Benicia. He was recruited to work as a superintendent for Atlanta Richfield Co. in the Bay Area. He was honored as a life member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

In 1970 Mr. Burton left the corporate world and became director of the Sequoia Center in Ben Lomond where he served for a decade.

He helped build and repair many of the structures at the 230-acre campground during 25 years being involved there. In 1980 the couple was invited to teach English in Beijing, China where they spent a year. Mr. Burton also aided educational and building projects in Nepal and Mexico. He was a volunteer with the Beyond War movement and the Creative Initiative Foundation for many years.

In 1995, the couple moved to Sunnyvale, but returned to Ben Lomond 14 years ago and Burton continued to maintain the Sequoia Center which was recently bought and is now called the Sequoia Retreat Center.

Mr. Burton was known by family members as someone who liked to motivate and educate people. He was persistent and wanted to do positive things that made a difference. Family said that he found joy in creating progress by organizing people and groups to get things completed.

Family said he enjoyed music and was a percussionist.

He was recently known in the San Lorenzo Valley for his role in securing a federal grant to replace the roof of the historical Felton Covered Bridge. Before that, he served on a committee that helped plan the new garage doors on the Ben Lomond firehouse.

Mr. Burton is survived by his wife Ann of Ben Lomond; children Charles Burton of the East Bay, John Burton of Sacramento, Barbara Burton of southern California, and Bill Burton of Junction City, Calif.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet

We encourage your online comments in this public forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a forum for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs. Readers may report such inappropriate comments by e-mailing the editor at