Edgar Ray Burton, age 74, resident of Memphis, Tennessee, departed this life Saturday evening, February 29, 2020 at St. Francis Hospital in Memphis.
Ray was born February 27, 1946 in the Macon Community of Fayette County the son of Mary and William "Willie" Howard Burton. Ray's father, an accomplished accountant who loved history and the heritage of farming and agriculture, was a decedent of the Burton's who established their farm in the mid 1800's. The farm, located in Macon and New Bethel Community, has passed down in the family through the years. Ray was the 7th born child of the family of 9 children, 5 boys and 4 girls. Ray was born only 1 month after his dad died of pneumonia. He attended Macon School and graduated from Fayette County High School in 1964. An athlete, Ray played football for the Panthers, sporting #82 on his jersey. After graduating high school, Ray worked for Troxel Manufacturing in Moscow.
Ray was baptized at Pleasants Christian Church and he also attended Lindenwood Baptist Church. He read the entire Bible all the way through 4 times. He was a gentle person who loved God and respected all life. His great sense of humor would light up a room. Ray enjoyed fishing, hunting, bodybuilding and tennis. He also shared a love of football with all his family. Ray was very proud of his blue and white ‘55 Chevy, with a supped-up engine of course.
Ray joined the US Navy, proudly serving 1966 to 1968. He always remarked that he did his duty for his country! The Vietnam War was raging at this time, and Ray was assigned to the USS Forrestal Aircraft Carrier. On July 29, 1967, a fire on the flight deck of the USS Forrestal began a chain reaction of explosions igniting bombs, creating the worst fire in the Navy's history, killing 130 seaman and injuring 160 others.The next several days, those who could picked up body parts and matched them, Ray was one of them. Ray survived this horrific tragedy but was forever changed by the effects of this event and the Vietnam War.
He returned home to a loving and supporting family who always look after each other.
Ray is survived by three sisters, Peggy Miller Garner (Terry) of Cordova, TN, Angela Miller of Memphis, TN, Ruby Burton Garrington (Seth) of Somerville, TN and his brother, Jack Burton (Evelyn) of Bartlett, TN. He was preceded in death by his parents, William Howard Burton and Mary Elizabeth Niblett Burton Miller; three brothers, Howard Burton, Morris Burton and Gene Burton; and his sister, Aileen Burton-Starnes.
Funeral Services were held at 3 P.M. Thursday, March 5, 2020 at the Peebles West Funeral Chapel at Oakland. Interment followed in the Macon Cemetery in the Macon Community.
Those honored to serve as pallbearers were Billy Burton, Rusty Garrington, Zach McKell, Mark Starnes, Michael Starnes and Jason Starnes.
The family requests that memorials be directed to St. Jude Memorial Giving, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105-9959.
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