Barbara Alice “Barb” Burton, age 84 years of Dowagiac, Michigan, wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, reader, and draft horse leader died peacefully at 4:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 27, 2021 with her family gathered around at her home following a brief illness. Her family is grateful for the kind and compassionate care provided by hospice staff.
She was born on December 10, 1936 in Chicago, Illinois to Alexander Clement and Johannah Gertrude (Richter) Davis. She came to Cass County, Michigan as a child, graduated from Ross Beatty High School in Cassopolis and attended the County Normal School for a teaching certificate. She began her career as a teacher at Oak Grove School before continuing her education at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan where she earned a Bachelor degree in Elementary Education. She moved to the Brandywine Community Schools where she taught in the elementary schools for the rest of her career.
Barb was a member of the New Journey United Methodist Church in Niles (formerly Wesley United Methodist Church) where she also taught Sunday School. She has always enjoyed sewing, keeping her sewing room ready for repairs and special projects. She also enjoyed reading, usually historical romances, and was a member of the Cass County Council on Aging Book Club.
She was a member of the Cass County Appaloosa Club, but is best known for her interest in draft breeds, especially Clydesdales. She was a member of the Cass County Draft Horse Club, the Michigan Draft Horse Breeders Association, and the Clydesdale Breeders of the United States. She participated in the founding of the Cass County 4-H Youth Draft Horse Program, helping youth develop relationships with owners of draft horses, allowing youth to show draft horses in training and competition. Even more important than these equestrian activities was her family.
On August 4, 1957 at the Dailey Church in rural Cassopolis she married Robert D. Burton with whom she celebrated last year the remarkable Sixty-third anniversary of their wedding. She was preceded in death by her parents, Clem and Jo Davis; and by her siblings, Joan Haines and Robert Davis.
Surviving family includes her husband, Bob Burton and their daughters, Zelda (& Dallas) Cloud of Edwardsburg, Michigan and Meghan “Molly” (& Carl) Kass of Ravenna, Michigan; grandchildren R.J. (& Samantha) Lee, Micheala (& Jon) Moody, Angela (& Jeremy) Brown, J.R. (& Julie) Kass, Sara (& Devon Adair) Kass, Riley Kass, Alex Kass, and Gerrit Kass; great-grandchildren Charlie, Isabelle, Ella, Cy, Landon, Emmitt, and Paxton; and several nieces and nephews.
The Celebration of Life for Barbara Burton will be at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 6, 2021 at the New Journey United Methodist Church, 302 Cedar Street in Niles with the Rev. Robert L. Snodgrass II of the church officiating. The family will receive relatives and friends on Saturday at the church beginning at 1:00 p.m. Attendance will be limited, masks required, and social distancing practiced. Others may witness the service via the livestreamed broadcast on the Halbritter-Wickens Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/halbritterwickensfuneralservices/ . Committal will be later, privately, at the Sumnerville (Michigan) Cemetery.
Contributions in memory of Barb may be made to the New Journey United Methodist Church, 302 Cedar Street, Niles, Michigan, 49120, https://newjourneyumc.org/ . Arrangements were made at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles. Online condolences may be left at:
Barb was clearly an educator all of her life, and in every endeavor – obviously at school – but also at church and draft horse competition. All of these activities were focused on the success of the student, and those relationships were the greatest priority, especially when those students were her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.