Rev. Edwina Burton

Obituary of Rev. Edwina Madison Burton

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My Life in My Words Edwina Madison Ward Burton If you are reading this, it means that you have outlived me and are attending my funeral or have been given a copy of my funeral program. I have always liked to do things my way and though it is different, I have decided to write my own obituary. Bear with me and I promise not to take too much poetic license or make myself look too good. I was born March 19, 1937 (the day before Daddy’s birthday), in Welch, WV, the second child of Edward Madison Ward, Jr. and Grace Josephine (Armstead) Ward. My sister, Joyce, was 23 months old and my parents were hoping for a boy to be named Edward III, instead I was named Edwina Madison Ward. An inquisitive child, my first word was probably “why.” Intuitively, I knew that reading would help me find answers. After always going to different family members asking that they read to me, my mother finally taught me to read when I was five years old, hence igniting my love for reading. My schools were Welch Dunbar Jr. High (grades 1 through 9) and Kimball High. While a good student and usually at the head of my class, I often irritated my teachers as my favorite word continued to be “why.” Nevertheless, my drive and desire to learn led me to graduating as valedictorian from both junior and senior high schools. I attended Berea College in Berea, KY where we had about 15 Blacks in a student body of 1500. There, I was exposed to persons of other races who had been raised with different values than my own. After three years at Berea, I made the decision to leave and went to Columbus, OH where I began work at a military installation. There I met George Burton (Burt) and after six months of dating we married on September 6, 1958. Two years later our daughter, Paula Ann, was born. In 1963, Burt was transferred from Ft Hayes, OH to Hawaii. With this journey we had several firsts -- our first time to drive to the west coast, our first time to sleep in hotels, our first time on a ship, our first time living in and learning a new culture. I loved being a military wife! From Hawaii we went to Ft Huachuca, AZ, which is about 60 miles from the Mexican border. After four years we went to Okinawa and were again living in a new culture. I can still see the laundry man laughing when he came by my house to get our laundry, because I always had the Japanese/English dictionary in my hands trying to communicate with him. I recall the day I was lost at the local bakery and the relief I felt when I saw the US Military Police drive up, as it would be tragic to be both lost and hungry. While in Okinawa, Burt had a stroke, and we were air evacuated back to the states. I was barely 34 years old, and my days were spent with people suffering from injuries or sickness and having conversations with their families. Once it had been determined that Burt was to be medically discharged from the service, we decided to settle in Denver and started the adjustment to civilian life. The years passed and we became accustomed to Burt’s being in a wheelchair. One night I looked at him and knew something was wrong. I took him to Fitzsimons Army Medical Center and a week later he fell into a coma for six months and two days before passing on September 27, 1984. I can only say that it was the most difficult time of my life. I felt as though I had been married three times: the young man in my wedding photos, the man in the wheelchair and the man in a coma. For the next two years I remembered my desire to be a minister when I was 16. I called my mother about going into the ministry, and after 30 plus years of thinking about it, I quit my job in September 1986 and started the path to ordination. At the Iliff School of Theology, I earned a Master of Divinity Degree. After many years, I learned what it was like to be last. I was the last person in my class to be given an appointment. I knew it was because I was a woman and Black. Upon being asked by the Bishop and District Superintendent how I would handle a cross racial appointment, I told them that I was not going alone. God would be with me!! For 10 years, I served in full-time ministry at Niwot United Methodist Church (UMC) thus becoming the first African American (AA) woman pastor in a cross-racial appointment and the first AA woman to be ordained an elder in the Rocky Mountain Conference of the UMC. I have many fond memories of my parishioners and our journey together as followers of Christ. It was a match made in heaven! After retiring I moved from Boulder back to Littleton to be near my daughter and granddaughter, Edwina. The phrase “It takes a village to raise a child” is how I felt about my granddaughter. She and I would have “Edwina” days. I’d take her to the grocery store and show her how to select fruits and vegetables but more importantly, how to determine when a sale was really a sale. The one thing I wanted was to live to see her graduate from high school. Not only did I do that, but I saw her graduate from college too! After she graduated, I returned to and enjoyed the life of a retiree. I did water walking until getting sick in 2016. I recovered but had to slow down on my activities. I still walked (or as Ann said “staked out”) in Walmart every day for an hour to get some exercise but at a slower pace. I continued to enjoy reading, writing, singing, traveling and watching old Western shows. Above all else I enjoyed being with family and friends. Whether your family or friend, you held an important place in my life. For that I am thankful, and I love each of you. Edwina Madison Ward Burton died April 8, 2022. She was preceded in death by her husband, George Burton; her parents, Edward and Grace Ward; and sister, Joyce Mills. She is survived by her daughter, Paula Ann Burton; granddaughter, Edwina Burton (Jessi); sister, Carolyn Pace; nephew, Edward Mills, Sr (Renee); niece, Victoria Thompson (Alec); great-nephews, Edward Mills, Jr (Kara), Evan Mills, and a host of cousins and friends.
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Wednesday
20
April

Visitation

10:00 am - 11:00 am
Wednesday, April 20, 2022
Scott United Methodist Church
2880 N. Garfield St.
Denver, Colorado, United States
PLEASE NOTE: FACE MASKS and SOCIAL DISTANCING ARE STILL REQUIRED!!
Wednesday
20
April

Service

11:00 am
Wednesday, April 20, 2022
Scott United Methodist Church
2880 N. Garfield St.
Denver, Colorado, United States
PLEASE NOTE: FACE MASKS and SOCIAL DISTANCING ARE STILL REQUIRED!!
Thursday
21
April

Interment

10:00 am
Thursday, April 21, 2022
Ft. Logan National Cemetery
3698 S. Sheridan Blvd.
Denver, Colorado, United States
303-761-0117
Staging Area "A".

Flowers

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the American Cancer Society.
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