KILMARNOCK—Willis H. “Bill” Burton Jr., 91, of Kilmarnock answered the “Last Call” and passed away peacefully in the presence of loving family on Sunday, January 9, 2022.
Bill was born in Roanoke on October 12, 1930, to the late Willis H. Burton Sr. and Sally Elizabeth Bernard Burton.
He was preceded in death (2006) by his wife of 55 years, Sara Jane Middleton Burton. He will always be remembered as a devoted husband, a loving father, and as an adoring grandfather.
He was a member of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church (SAPC) and very active in the nurturing of the church in its formative years as a charter member, ruling elder and treasurer.
Bill was also a retired “firefighter” having served in multiple positions in many Virginia localities. During his teenage years in Herndon, he was a volunteer at the Herndon VFD, a volunteer with the Williamsburg VFD while attending William & Mary, and then as a paid firefighter at Camp Peary, after his W&M graduation.
In 1953, he returned to Fairfax County as the first chief fire marshal for the newly established Office of the Fire Marshall. He served in that capacity until his appointment as fire administrator in 1963. During his eight-year tenure to 1971, he was instrumental in converting the volunteer firefighter operations into a paid firefighter system with purchase of county-owned equipment, building the Fire Training Center (now the Academy) and multiple fire stations, and graduating formal recruit classes starting in 1967.
After retirement to the Ditchley area in 1987 and becoming a “Just Glad To Be Here” resident, he became a member the Kilmarnock-Lancaster County Volunteer Rescue Squad.
Surviving are his son and daughter-in-law, W. Ben and Susan Burton of Kilmarnock; a son, Robert E. Burton of Maui, Hawaii; and a daughter-in-law, Ana Fine Burton of Ardmore, Pa. Also surviving are five grandchildren, Corrie E. Butler in Georgia, Jessica L. Burton-Evans (Jeffrey) in California, Bradley W. Burton in Virginia, Akosita LeaKona Burton in Pennsylvania and Sela Jane Burton-Roesler (Travis) in Pennsylvania; eight great-grandchildren, Emma, Molly, Josie, Blaine, Nellie Grace, Tessa Jane, Rowan and Mason; and his loving companion of the last eight years, Nina Thompson.
Due to continuing COVID-19 pandemic precautions, a memorial service and interment of ashes at the SAPC Memory Garden are being postponed to a future date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the St. Andrews Presbyterian Church Building Fund, P.O. Box 1366, Kilmarnock, VA; or the Kilmarnock-Lancaster County Volunteer Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 333, Kilmarnock, VA.
Currie Funeral Home LLC of Kilmarnock handled the arrangements.