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The Great Pete Burton has passed away at age 91.
All will remember Pete as a tall, handsome, baseball player who was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend.
Born on “a cold, snowy day in New York” (as he liked to say) , Pete arrived on Thanksgiving day in 1931 to parents Virginia and Jack Burton. The doctor embarassed his proper mother by saying, “Let’s get this turkey out of the oven!” Pete grew up an only child in Bronxsville, New York. He would later become President of Roosevelt High School student body, and rumor had it, drove a Volkswagen down the hallway on Senior prank day. Dad’s own father, Jack, passed away when he was only 14.
An incredible left-handed pitcher, Pete was scouted by the Philadelphia Phillies out of high school. He wal then joined the Marine Corp during the Korean War.
After leaving the Marine Corp, Dad was working at a bank in New York and spotted a beautiful lady walking by. A bird had pooped on her shoulder and she shrieked and ran into the bank. Dad met his match; the incredible Bobbi Colombo. They married and would go on to have 4 children all named with the letter “P” to honor their father- Peter, Pam, Paula and Peggy.
Dad put himself through college at night for 8 years and graduated from Seton Hall University. With various jobs in sales, the couple moved from New Jersey to San Antonio, TX, and ultimately, Atlanta, GA, where they spent the next 45 years.
Pete was a huge Atlanta Braves fan and coached his son’s many Little League teams. Dad said he took up smoking after he coached Pam and Paula’s softball team. Pete sported a sharp wit, and had an endless supply of off-color jokes.
Pete loved the Awful Waffle, much to our chagrin. He cracked up as he signed autographs, mistakened for actor, Jack Lord from Hawaii Five-O. He had the dance moves of Christopher Walken and the looks of Clint Eastwood. Dad had a million sayings he loved to shout out at any moment. “It’s a Jungle out there!”, “I’m living at the foot of the cross”, “Jesus, Take the Wheel”. His favorite audience were unsuspecting patients in crowded hospital waiting rooms. “X-Rays of my Head Reveal Nothing!” “Do you mind if I smoke in here?” Gasp!
His 9 grandkids called him Jefe, “The Chief”, a name he selected for himself. He moved to Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla into Vicar’s Landing to be near his devoted daughter, Pam. She and her husband, Tom, and children, Matt and Maddie took incredible care of him until his passing. Pete was also “Friends with Bill”, helping people for over 45 years. We will never forget our Dad who taught us many things, but most importantly, how to age gracefully and thankfully, with an abundance of humor. He often said, “It’s not what happens to you in life, it’s how you react to it.”
Pete is predeceased by his wife, Elizabeth Colombo and daughter, Peggy Burton Minor. He is survived by his son, Peter Burton of Danville, CA and children, Lexie, Peter; daughter, Pam Burton Marrott (Tom) of Ponte Vedra Beach, FL and children Maddie, Matt; daughter, Paula Burton Sinkovitz (Tom) of San Francisco, CA and children, Jack, Lily; and Peggy’s family (Dick) Americas, GA and children Analhi, McGraw, Peter Minor.
Services will be held at a later date. Donations can be made to the Salvation Army. (Dad ran away from home at age 14 to Florida for Baseball Spring Training Camp. The Salvation Army housed, fed him and gave him bus fare for a ticket back home.)
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