KALISPELL — Ted Raymond Burton passed away peacefully on July 13, 2019 after a short illness in Kalispell.
Ted was born to Ray and Anna Burton on March 6, 1925 in Missoula. Ted went to Missoula County High School (now Hellgate High School) and he graduated in 1943. By then, World War II was in full swing and Ted was drafted into the Army. After three months of basic training in Fort Benning, Georgia, Ted was given orders to board the Italian passenger liner Saturnia in New York City. They crossed the Atlantic to arrive in Southern France — a miracle given all the German submarines in the area. Ted remembers being on the ship's deck on a moon lit night and being able to see all of the allied ships in front and behind them that were in their convoy.
During the war, Ted was an anti-tank crewman in the 3rd Army under General Patton. He was involved in three major campaigns in the European Theatre: The Northern France Campaign, the Battle of the Bulge and the Rhineland Campaign. He received the Bronze Star Medal. Upon his discharge in 1946, he returned to Montana and attended Montana University (now U of M) where he received his degree in Chemistry in 1949. Ted was also a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity and was its chapter's President in 1948.
Ted's first job was at the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company refinery in Casper, Wyo. After a year, Ted attended the University of Washington earning a Masters Degree in Chemistry in 1953. He chose that school so he could be close to his college sweetheart, Juanita Kugler who lived and worked in Seattle. After graduation, Ted was hired on my Standard Oil (now Exxon/Mobil) to work in the refinery in Aruba, Netherlands Antilles. Juanita joined Ted a year later and they married in 1954 at the Lago Community Church. In Aruba, they were blessed with four children. Ted took up tennis and it became a passion — he played until he was 86 years old. He was an avid gardener most of his life. In Aruba he planted dozens of sprouted coconut palms that are still growing today — some over 60 feet tall.
During his tenure in the oil industry, Ted and his family spent many years in Aruba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. Becoming fluent in Spanish and even taking advantage of residing outside of an American compound, he and his family found deep reward in the different cultures and lifestyles that the island life and countries provided. In his work in the refineries Ted was known for his patience and honesty. A devoted family man, he brought his family to Flathead Lake to summer in a lakeside home for over 35 years.
Ted retired in 1982 and spent his time between Corpus Christi, Texas and Flathead Lake. In retirement, Ted and Juanita traveled the world — always by freighter, never by cruise ship, and he engaged in volunteer work — assisting individuals with their income tax preparation. He and Juanita eventually moved to Missoula and just recently, to Kalispell to be closer to family. Ted was proud to have been invited to go on the Big Sky Honor Flight with other WWII veterans where he was honored for his service in the Army and to our country.
Ted's dedication to his family and friends, his gracious and gentlemanly ways are remembered by all who met him. He was a great listener, and awesome thinker and his sharp mind was just that, even in his final moments. He will be missed by all, especially his loving family. Ted is survived by his wife of 65 years, Juanita; and his four children — Deborah (Tod Walkington) of Denver, Colorado; Clare (Weeks) of Redding, Connecticut; Raymond of Polson, and Berit (Dee) of Kalispell. Ted is also survived by two grandsons, Peter and Trevor Weeks.
A memorial service for Ted will be held on Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019 at 2 p.m. at the Villas at Buffalo Hills in Kalispell.