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Steven G. BURTON

BURTON, Steven G., Tampa has lost an accomplished and beloved native son with the death of Steven G. Burton, after com-plications of heart transplant surgery on April 21, 2013. Steve's success as a lawyer, most recently as managing partner of Broad and Cassel, was widely documented over his 23-year legal career, but those achievements did not define him as a man. He was a passionate and thoughtful father, a reader of books, a faithful and loyal friend, and a music connoisseur who enjoyed everything from classical to gospel to country to James Taylor. Steve was a lifelong runner, enjoyed fishing, boating, and anything that allowed him to enjoy the great outdoors. He was a fierce advocate for his hometown, giving generously in uncounted hours and quiet contributions to diverse charities and non-profit organizations, in addition to his business and legal pursuits. He also enjoyed political sparring but often noted that, absent party loyalties, people had more in common than not. As lead counsel or "first chair" for a number of Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies operating in Florida and the United States, Steve was a critical player in various disputes involving tens of millions of dollars and, in some instances, over $1 billion. Logging more than a thousand hours of trial and arbitration experience, he was also involved in several high profile litigation matters, including his term as outside general counsel to the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives from 2003-2004 and as legal advisor to three Speakers of the House over the years. He drafted technology legislation that unanimously passed the Florida House and Senate and was signed into law by Governor Jeb Bush in 1999. Additionally, he served as an advisor to the U.S. Congress on technology legislation issues. Steve held an AV rating with Martindale Hubbell for over 15 years, a rating denoting the highest accolade an attorney can receive for his legal ability and "adherence to professional standards of conduct, ethics, reliability and diligence" and in 2009 he was designated by his peers as a "Florida Legal Elite" in Florida Trend magazine, an honor awarded to less than two percent of the Florida Bar. He was also named one of the "Best Lawyers in America" for his legal expertise in Technology Law and Commercial Litigation, based on an exhaustive and rigorous peer-review survey comprising more than 2.8 million confidential evaluations by the top attorneys throughout the United States. He was an active and engaged community leader and was most recently appointed to the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, a board that has exclusive jurisdiction over all publicly owned airports in the county, including Tampa International Airport. He also served on the boards of the Economic Development Corporation and the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida for two terms by Governor Charlie Crist. In 2008, he was appointed to the Board of Overseers for Stetson College of Law for a three-year term. Additionally, he served as a board member of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute Leadership Board, based in Cleveland, Ohio. More than any accolade or title, Steve valued his role as proud father to his two sons, Tyler Daniel 19, and Zachary Steven, age 14. His greatest desire was to live long enough to see his sons marry and be able to meet their children. He continued to grow as a father and had an unquenchable desire to offer them a positive example for becoming good and decent men. His concern was for their personal development and there was simply nothing more important than being a loving, attentive and available father. Steve believed that being present in the milestone and everyday moments was key. He loved spending any time with his sons, watching movies, attending sporting events and just hanging out and being around to listen in and be a part of their lives. As his health began to be challenging, he missed the more active part of parenting, being outside with his sons and doing the things he loved to do with them. In late 2011, after being reconnected through a mutual friend, Steve was joined with Melissa Helms, and together they found love & enduring companionship. After enjoying often-simple but satisfying activities like fishing, cooking, boating, movie watching, music sharing, and generally living in the moment of life together, Steve proposed marriage. He often shared his gratitude with the friend who helped them make a personal connection after knowing one another for many years as casual acquaintances and through charitable work. Their mutual goal was to work toward improving his health so that he could return to active parenting, and then marry. While this plan was not fully realized, Steve was tenderly and lovingly cared for by Melissa until his last breath. Steve was predeceased by his mother, Mary Elizabeth, and his brother, Glenn Matthew, whom he continued to mourn and miss through his final days; their loss being significant in his life. Steve is survived by his father Daniel Burton, step mother Linda Burton of Tampa, brother Mark Burton, his wife Marty and their son Mark Burton, Jr. of Bradenton, FL., sister Diane McDuff and her children Dana and Julie McDuff of Visalia, CA., sister-in-law Nancy Burton, and her son, Matthew Burton of Tampa, whom he treasured as his own. Additionally, he is survived by Susan Burton, his former wife and the mother of his sons, also of Tampa. A proud Chamberlain High School Chief, Steve graduated with the class of 1979, received his BA from USF in 1984 and graduated from Stetson Law School in 1988. He lived his entire life in Tampa where he leaves a legacy as a local son who studied hard, worked diligently, spent time and energy raising his beloved sons and made significant, positive contributions to his community. By doing so, he garnered respect, helped shape the local and state legal landscape and reached into the chambers of legislative law, working on behalf of Floridians everywhere. He will be missed and remembered as his spirit lives on through his many good works and the enduring friendships that he cultivated along the way. A celebration of Steve's life will be held on Friday, April 26 at 12:00 noon, at Idlewild Church. Visitation is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. prior to the celebration. Flowers will be accepted and for those who wish to make a charitable contribution, donations will be accepted in honor of Steve at the Pediatric Cancer Foundation. (www.fastercure.org)


Published in TBO.com from Apr. 24 to Apr. 25, 2013
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