William Walter Burton, Jr. (“Bill”) died July 1, 2021 of natural causes, surrounded by family.
A native of Lincoln County, Tennessee, Bill was born on July 23, 1941 to William Walter Burton, Sr. and Francis Drennan Burton. He graduated as the salutatorian from Lincoln County Central High School. He attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville for both undergraduate and law school. It is there that he met his beloved wife, Barbara Ann Rimes, through a Valentine’s Day blind date project that the college paper orchestrated. They married on December 22, 1967. Bill was a loving, faithful, and devoted husband to Barbara until her untimely death in 2001.
After graduating from law school, Bill ultimately moved to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and practiced law there for 46 years before retiring in 2013. Bill served his clients, his firm, his colleagues, the Tennessee Bar, and the Murfreesboro community tirelessly through his distinguished law practice. Bill would frequently take on pro bono clients or accept services or goods in exchange for legal representation for clients who were unable to pay him.
Bill was a member and former Elder of the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Murfreesboro. He was also a member and former President of the Exchange Club of Murfreesboro for over 40 years. He was previously President of the Rutherford County Bar Association and the chair of the Rutherford County Red Cross and the Heart Association. Additionally, he previously served on the Board of Governors of the National Alumni Association for the University of Tennessee.
Bill was a loving and devoted father to his three children. He coached his daughters in softball, attended his son’s soccer games, and raised his children in his Christian faith. His dedication to his family, law practice, community, farm, and faith set an example for his children that they value greatly.
On November 15, 2008, Bill married Nancy Smith Burton. Nancy and Bill shared a mutual love of travel, ballroom dancing, and family, frequently travelling to visit Bill’s many grandchildren.
Bill most enjoyed spending time at his farm in the Camargo community of Lincoln County, which Bill and Nancy worked to have designated as a Century Farm by the Tennessee Center for Historic Preservation, because it has been owned and actively farmed by Bill and his family for over 100 years. Bill also purchased and operated additional farms surrounding the Burton home place during his life. Bill loved nothing more than walking his farms to check on the fencing, beef cattle and row crops. Other than his faith and family, his farms were Bill’s primary hobby and passion, and he successfully passed that passion on to his children and grandchildren.
Bill is survived by his wife, Nancy Smith Burton; daughters, Tammy Marie Burton and Bobbie Ann (Michael) Ramsey; son, William Walter (Melissa) Burton, III; grandchildren, William Walter Burton, IV, Preston Michael Ramsey, James Edward Burton, Catherine Ann Ramsey, and Anne Elizabeth Burton; nephews, Bruce Rodney (Lisa) Askins and Gerry Burton Askins; great niece Lauren Askins, and step daughter Kimberly Flores (Juan), and step grandson Nicolas Mateo Flores. He is preceded in death by his parents, his beloved wife, Barbara, and his sister Glynn Burton Askins.
The family will host a visitation at First Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Murfreesboro on Friday, July 9, 2021 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. and at Prosperity ARP Church on Saturday, July 10, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. in Taft, Tennessee, followed by a service at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Family Center (https://www.familycentertn.org) or First Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Murfreesboro (https://murfreesborocpc.org).
Higgins Funeral Home in Fayetteville, TN is honored to be serving the family of Mr. William Walter Burton, Jr.
I worked for Bill from 1970-1976. He was a kind and gentle man and great boss to a young legal secretary. I’m so sorry for the family’s loss.
So sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. He was a valued member of Exchange and is greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this time.