John R Burton age 83 of Johnstown, OH, left his earthly tent for his heavenly home on Friday July, 6, 2018 surrounded by his family singing “Victory in Jesus”. He was born May 29, 1935 in Lynchburg, OH to the late Opal (Hopkins) and Jesse Burton.
Survived by his beloved wife of almost 62 years-Wilma (Skaggs), children Rindy (Bob), Mary Beth (Rob), Brian (Kelly), grandchildren: Jacob (Michelle), Allison (Ryan), Meredith (Kyle), Avery, Blair, Bennett, Grant, Jeb, Vincent, Reece, Maria. Great grandchildren: John, Adelaide, Claire, Annora, Paul, Abram and Ezekiel. His family brought him great joy and delight and he loved to spend precious time with each one. He was the second born with 11 siblings. Preceded in death by his sister Jeanette (Burton) Toenniges and infant brother, Steven. Survived by sisters Barb (Ertel), Mary (Hagner), Ruth (Smith) and brothers Marlin, Charles, David, Michael, Milton and James.
As a young boy in a small town he worked earnestly to help his family and yet still excelled in school. In high school, he was elected class president all 4 years and graduated as valedictorian. Many community fathers took note of his extraordinary work ethic and positive attitude and provided opportunities for him to further his education. As an outstanding high school basketball player, he held for decades the county record for most points scored (45) during a game prior to the 3 point shot. He continued his education while still working, ultimately graduating with an education degree from Wilmington College.
Small towns also create great romances. In this case, a new family from Eastern Kentucky, moved with 6 children to his hometown. Wilma Skaggs, the eldest daughter, caught his eye one day as she crossed the street. On their first date he tells the story that the only time he heard an audible voice from God was when telling him this woman is to be your wife and mother of your children. Being practical the two married on November 10, 1956 and lived over the hardware store while John went to Wilmington College and Wilma worked for the common pleas judge in Hillsboro. During the early years of their marriage much of life revolved around sports as he played on many semi professional softball and baseball teams even at one time being asked to try out for the Cincinnati Reds.
In 1958, he secured his first job at Fairfield High School in Leesburg, OH. While at his tenure in Leesburg, he drove a school bus, directed school plays, taught government, physical education and coached basketball often all in the same year. Here, as a young married couple, many lifelong friendships started and many of these friendships originated as students he coached that today still simply call him “Coach”. After receiving his Master’s degree from Xavier University in 1963, he was named principal at Fairfield High School. In 1968, he become principal at Granville High School where he oversaw the construction of a new high school building he helped open in 1970. In 1971, his public education career continued at Hillsboro City Schools serving as high school principal, elementary principal and the superintendent of schools until his retirement in 1990. He then spent 6 meaningful years serving as a mentor for the juvenile court system. The capstone of his educational career was serving 13 years teaching education classes and overseeing student teachers at Wilmington College where his educational career began. He was a true advocate for students receiving the education they needed and loved working with the teachers and staffs in each district where they lived. John was a Hillsboro Rotarian, served as president and was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow. He was also a member of Spring Hills Baptist Church in Granville.
John and Wilma spent many summers at Lakeside enjoying the amazing Chautauqua community while serving as the honorary “mayor of the campground”. He loved reading historical novels, journaling and writing letters to his grandchildren away at school. His greatest joy in retirement was teaching and studying the Bible with his wife and small groups of friends and family.
A memorial service to honor John Burton will be held at Spring Hills Baptist Church in Granville OH, 1820 Newark-Granville
Rd, Granville, OH 43023 on Saturday July 14, at 1pm. You may greet the family in the worship center from 12 – 12:45 pm.
Private family graveside burial to follow service.
Brucker and Kishler Funeral Home are handling arrangements and there is an online tribute page at their website.
Donations can be made online or by mail in his honor to Hospice of Central Ohio or Spring Hills Church mission fund.