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William Bethea Burton
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Birth: Aug. 10, 1925
Fresno County
California, USA
Death: Feb. 16, 2008
San Diego County
California, USA

Music teacher will be missed

Bakersfield Californian, The (CA) - Saturday, March 29, 2008

Bakersfield has recently suffered the tremendous loss of one of the greatest music educators in local history.

William Burton was the absolute embodiment of warmth and kindness, with a passion for jazz and a sense of musicianship that his students could only hope to one day emulate.

While attending Highland High School, I had the pleasure of Burton's private instruction both on clarinet and saxophone. After enduring several operations as a result of an automobile accident, as well as a stroke, Burton continued inspiring young people into his 80s.

In addition to helping to improve my clarinet playing tremendously, Burton introduced me to the likes of Charlie Parker and John Coltrane.

He has touched the lives of countless students through Kern County Honor Band and Honor Orchestra, the Bakersfield Clamper Band, etc.

However, Burton's talent didn't solely lie in his musical capabilities, but in his unceasing ability to inspire those around him. Learning under Burton taught me that there is more to music than theory and tone. There has to be a legitimate passion for what an individual is playing.

I am honored to call myself one of his students, and I know he's still teaching kids to play, albeit in a better setting.

1925 - 2008
William Bethea Burton passed away peacefully in the San Diego area on February 16, 2008. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Margery, his brother Roger of Venice, CA and his sister JoDee of Rancho Mirage, CA. He was the loving father of three sons: Roger of Sanger, CA; Douglas and Bill, Jr., of San Diego, CA and four grandchildren, Brittany, Davis, Chelsea and Brice of San Diego.

William (Bill) was a 5th generation Californian and grew up in Fresno, CA. He graduated from University of Southern California with a B.S. in Music and from Cal Lutheran University with an M.S. in Administration. He taught instrumental music in various Bakersfield schools and later became Supervisor of Music for the Bakersfield City School District. He was an accomplished musician, playing clarinet, saxophone, and flute professionally in many bands and orchestras and taught woodwinds privately to many young musicians.

He was a member of the East Bakersfield Kiwanis Club and Heritage Bible Church and served as the choral director for several churches.

A celebration of life will take place at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego on Monday March 17, 2008, at 10:00 a.m., which is close to where he trained with the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Bill's memory for a Bakersfield City School District music scholarship to: Kern County Music Educators Association, c/o Mike Stone, Music Supervisor, Bakersfield City School District-Education Center, 1300 Baker St., Bakersfield, CA 93305. William B. Burton 1925 - 2008 
Family links: 
  Margery J Burton (1924 - 2008)*
*Calculated relationship
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery
San Diego
San Diego County
California, USA
Created by: Lester Letson
Record added: Sep 08, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 58318953
William Bethea Burton
Added by: Linda Claxton
William Bethea Burton
Added by: Linda Claxton
William Bethea Burton
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Kit and Morgan Benson
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- Lester Letson
 Added: Sep. 8, 2010

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