|Death: ||Feb. 15, 2009|
Mary Burton, popular Tyler Junior College teacher and actress, died Feb. 15, 2009. She was 95 and died of complications of advanced aging. She had recently suffered a series of small strokes.
Mrs. Burton taught English and occasionally speech, journalism and drama in high school and junior college, including 19 years at TJC beginning in 1963.
Six weeks after her arrival in Tyler, her acting career took off when she auditioned for a part at the Tyler Civic Theater. To her surprise she got the lead in "Everyone Loves Opal," a role for which she is best remembered. Over the next few decades, she appeared in a number of shows, including several more in the "Opal" series, and worked in a variety of jobs backstage. She served on the Civic Theater board from 1991 to 2007.
A crusader against violence on women, Mrs. Burton was a longtime member of the East Texas Crisis Center. For years, she was responsible for answering the crisis hotline from home three hours a week. When she wasn't on hotline duty, she often was in court supporting assault victims.
For most of her life she was an avid reader and a regular at Tyler Library's Club Read. She regularly attended Jim Yancy's Opera Appreciation classes at The University of Texas at Tyler even though she admitted she did not have a good ear for music. She said she enjoyed the operas because they were a form of theater.
Mrs. Burton was the recipient of many awards for her teaching and civic leadership, including being named as one of the outstanding women in Tyler in 2003 and one of the Women in Tyler's "Women Who Inspire" in 2005. She was on the board of the League of Women Voters from 1992 to 1998.
Born Mary Eugenia Wadsworth in 1914 in Jacksonville, she married William Jennings Burton in 1936. The Burtons managed hotels throughout East Texas. He died in 1962.
Mrs. Burton returned to college at the age of 40 and earned bachelor's and master's degrees in English from Sam Houston State Teachers College. She taught in high schools in Van Vleck and Huntsville before coming to Tyler.
Mrs. Burton is survived by her daughter, Judy Wiessler and son-in-law David Wiessler of Washington, D.C., and a sister, Nora Bartholomew of Kenner, La.
Body donated to medical science
Created by: Nancy Jane Faulk White ...
Record added: Feb 18, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 33987490