“….Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
AND, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod the high un-trespassed sanctity of space, PUT OUT MY HAND, AND TOUCHED THE FACE OF GOD.” – High Flight by John Gillespie Magee, Jr
Jim lived his life to fullest and loved every moment. Being the adventurer he was, he looped the Golden Gate Bridge and flew down the Grand Canyon. Jim’s attitude was, “Don’t tell me I can’t do it; I’ll show you I can.”
From a farm boy in Ingold, North Carolina to a commander in Naval Intelligence, Jim Burton’s path from the beginning to the end was filled the accomplishments that few people even dare to try. Jim was always reaching higher and testing the air. Born October 2, 1930 to James L. and Ruth E. Burton, he was the oldest of three boys. Entering the Navy at age 17 , he graduated Summa Cum Laude at Bob Jones University in Science-Education. He qualified and served as a Naval Aircraft Carrier Pilot in the Viet Nam War, earned a Master’s Degree in Science Education and went on to secure a post-graduate degree in Naval Intelligence.
Jim continued his service with the National Security Agency. He also served as Assistant Naval Attache at The Hague and Commanding Officer of the first Jet Training Squadron, VT-22 in Kingsville, Texas. He completed his military service as commanding officer of a naval intelligence unit until retirement.
Retiring from military service, he masterfully pursued new horizons giving seminars, consulting, initiating entrepreneurial ventures, forming a residential construction company with his son Scott, (since deceased) building over 500 homes from Wyoming to Texas.
He was an athlete, warrior, scholar, chef, entrepreneur, and artist. His love and artistry in wood carving began as he was consulting in Alaska and observed the Intuit artists carving various materials. He had many gifts and talents, incredible energy, a wide range of interests and passions. He was highly intelligent, very scholarly and quite funny. He was truly a Renaissance Man and he knew Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.
Jim is survived by his wife Betty, daughter Patti Kremensek, husband Brad. His granddaughter Kristine Meissner, husband Nick and sons Carl and Ryan, granddaughter Jessica Powers and daughter Evelyn, and Scott’s son Doug. Stepsons Raymond Gano, wife Cynthia, Seth Gano, wife Pam, and stepdaughter Loree DeJong, son Kees DeJong, daughter Autumn.
Betty and Jim shared a heartfelt bond. His loving care and strength filled her life with joy, and their many travels leave happy memories for her.
Jim received his pilot’s wings December, 1957; he received his heavenly wings October 19, 2020, at the age of 90.
Celebration of life will be held on October 29, 2020 at Trinity Baptist Church in Kerrville. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Wounded Warrior Project.
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