John Joseph Burton|
April 9, 1926 - March 7, 2014
A Resident of Aptos, California
John Joseph Burton passed away peacefully from complications of Lewy Body Disease at Valley Convalescent Hospital, Watsonville, on Friday, March 7, 2014. He was surrounded by his family: his wife of 66 years, Virginia, their four children, spouses of his children and his sister. He was 87 years old.
Born John Joseph Gonzales in Bakersfield, CA, he spent his early childhood in Bakersfield and Fresno before moving to the Sunset District of San Francisco, where he attended elementary school and Lowell High School. With World War II raging on two fronts, John was drafted into the Army following his graduation, serving as a combat infantryman in Germany from 1944 until cessation of hostilities in Europe. He was in training for the invasion of Japan when the War ended. John remained on active duty until 1946, at which time he returned to San Francisco and enrolled at San Francisco State College (now University). In the meantime, on December 18, 1945, John was adopted by his step-father, Ed Burton, and took Mr. Burton's last name.
While at San Francisco State, he starred on both the intercollegiate basketball team and collegiate baseball team, and it was during those college years that he perfected a new innovation to the game of basketball that he'd begun back in high school: the jumpshot. Known as "Jumpin' John," his story was chronicled in John Christgau's 1999 book, The Origins of the Jump Shot: Eight Men Who Shook the World of Basketball. Later, in 2007, he was inducted into the SFSU Sports Hall of Fame.
Most importantly, while at San Francisco State he met the love of his life, Virginia Amaral. They married on February 4, 1948, and celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary this year.
In 1954 John began working as a claims adjuster for Fireman's Fund Insurance Company, San Francisco remaining at Fireman's Fund in various capacities until his retirement in 1985. John and Virginia and their two oldest children, John and Janet, initially resided in San Francisco. In 1954 John and Virginia purchased their first home in South San Francisco, where their twins, Jill and Jean, were born. In 1958, John was offered a position as Claim's Manager for the Fireman's Fund branch office in Santa Rosa, where the family resided from 1958 until 1969, when they relocated to San Jose after John accepted a promotion to Claims Manager for the branch office there. John retired from Fireman's Fund in 1985 and took a position as office manager for a San Jose law firm, ultimately retiring for good in 1988. In 1987, John and Virginia moved to their home in Aptos to be near three of their four children, who by that time had moved to the Santa Cruz area, soon to be followed by their fourth child and her family.
In his retirement, John enjoyed golf and, always the dedicated athlete, became quite proficient, "shooting his age" many times while in his 70's. He and Virginia both found joy in attending Twin Lakes Church, where they are members. He served on the Board of Directors at Santa Cruz Boys and Girls Club and coached the basketball teams there. He and Virginia enjoyed traveling together, both internationally and in the U.S. and, more recently enjoyed ocean cruises. He thoroughly enjoyed his family and holidays were indeed special events. He enjoyed his 9 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. The family was particularly blessed this past Thanksgiving and Christmas when John, though quite ill, rallied and was able to fully enjoy the holidays with them.
John will always be remembered for his kindness, enthusiasm, generosity and selflessness, and for his impeccable focus on the task at hand, whether it be work, sports or any other challenge and, of course, for his devotion to his family.
John is survived by his wife of 66 years, Virginia, their four children (spouses), John Burton (Joanne) of Aptos, Janet Koch (Jerry) of Cupertino, Jill Donnelly (Chris) of Aptos, and Jean Logan of Aptos, his sister Joan Ross of San Jose, nine grandchildren Gregory Burton of Minneapolis, MN, Ryan Koch of San Jose, Eric Koch of Cupertino, Shaun Logan of Aptos, Jackie Salamon of Oceanside, Daniel Donnelly of Berkeley, Samuel Salamon of La Habra, Erin Nelson of Covina, and Brynna Logan of San Francisco, and two great-granddaughters, Avery Koch and Brooklyn Koch. John was devoted to each and every one of them. He was preceded in death by his natural father, Joseph John Gonzales, his mother, Marjorie Shuster Burton and his adopted father, Edward Burton.
The family wishes to express heartfelt thanks to the devoted and caring staff at Valley Convalescent Hospital in Watsonville, Hospice of Santa Cruz, pastoral staff at Twin Lakes Church and all of his wonderful caregivers.
Private graveside services will be conducted on March 27 at Santa Cruz Memorial Park. A Celebration of Life will take place on April 12, 2014 at 11:00 AM at Twin Lakes Church, 2701 Cabrillo College Drive, Aptos, with reception to follow at a location to be determined.
Any kind acts of charity can be made to the SPCA of Santa Cruz County in the name of John Joseph Burton. If you would like to send your condolences to John's family, share your memories, view or post photos or light a candle, please visit www.scmemorial.com
Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on Apr. 6, 2014