Robert Leslie Burton passed away surrounded by family on Tuesday, May 2, 2023. His life was fuller, more complicated, and impactful than words can express, but people whose lives shine as brilliantly as his did are ineffable. Robert, best known as Bob, was a man who never shied away from expressing his opinions, embraced everyone he met with conversation, dedicated his life to his family, and not least of all, lived being true to himself.
Bob was born on April 14, 1953, to the late James and Jeanine Burton in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He was the second eldest of ten children. The family moved frequently during his adolescence. City after city and school after school, with every move, a new brother or sister was added to the crew. His siblings were not only his kin, but they were also his best friends, and some of his favorite memories as a boy involved spending time with his brothers and sisters. So many siblings and so many places created a lifetime of favorite memories. When they eventually had all gone their own way, they would occasionally have a reunion, or all come together for a holiday and the stories would flow. “Remember when” became a hallmark of who they were.
Bob earned an Associate of Arts degree from St. Gregory’s College, followed by a Bachelor of Science from the University of Central Oklahoma. He went on to pursue a Master of Business Administration from the University of Oklahoma in 1997 while working full time and raising a family. Bob started his career in the building materials industry, becoming the top sales performer for several years. Later, he progressed into the aerospace industry with Lockheed Martin and Parker Aerospace. He continued developing new skills, becoming a registered financial professional at a security firm. Bob was greatly admired by his colleagues, friends, and family for his dedication and intense work ethic.
Bob met his wife of nearly 39 years, Amelia, better known as Amy, in 1983 in Oklahoma City. After a whirlwind six-month romance and engagement, they married in May 1984. Their first-born, Emily, arrived in 1986. Kenny joined the family soon after in 1990, and Sean was welcomed in 1994. Together, Bob and Amy supported their children and instilled a love of family and faith. Vacations were often an excuse to visit extended family and connect with Bob’s brothers and sisters. Bob and Amy actively participated in all the kids’ extracurricular activities including sports, music, and Boy Scouts.
Bob valued his health and stayed active his whole life. He played several sports in his early years, worked out at the gym daily, and won many powerlifting competitions. He golfed, gardened, played the stock market, and enjoyed sporting events with his wife. In 2020, he became “BluPa” when his granddaughter, Aurora, was born. They loved each other’s company and enjoyed frequent outings to the playground. Bob also stayed in shape, so he could indulge in a weekly Sunday visit to the “best” donut shops (always locally owned) around Oklahoma City before 10am mass. Chocolate covered cinnamon rolls were his favorite.
Bob overcame prostate cancer in 2012, but was diagnosed with a more serious condition, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, in 2016. As his lungs began to fail, he continued to work out daily and carried his portable oxygen machine to lift weights at the gym. In February 2017, Bob received a call that a pair of lungs were a match and flew to Baylor Medical Center in Dallas where he underwent a double lung transplant. The experience forever changed him. He was forced into early retirement and reflected more deeply on what passions he wanted to pursue while adhering to a new restrictive lifestyle due to immunosuppressant, anti-rejection medications. He never feared his health diagnoses or the possibility of death, but rather lived truer to how he wanted to exist in the time that he had left.
Bob explored a long-time dream of restoring historic homes in Oklahoma City. He started a new business, Blue Bob Operations, LLC, with his wife, and the first home they renovated sold in one day. The last project they worked on was the most challenging and rewarding one. Bob and Amy renovated a house for their daughter, Emily, son-in-law, Chris, and their growing family.
In March of 2023, Bob was diagnosed with an aggressive form of stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma. He passed away in his home on Tuesday, May 2, 2023, surrounded by his wife and three children. Bob lived an honest, passionate, and fearless life. He inspired people from all walks of life with his vigor for debate, his perseverance and optimism at the most challenging of times, and most of all, his enduring love for his family and friends. Those who live as boldly as he did, leave the brightest mark in this world. Bob will be missed dearly, and remembered for years and years to come by those who loved him.
Bob is survived by his wife, Amy Burton; children, Emily (Chris) Anderson, Kenny Burton, and Sean Burton; granddaughter, Aurora Anderson; siblings, Richard (Peggy), Jean, Janet (Breck), James (Michelle), Thomas (Sue), John (Crystal), Joseph (Lee) and Anne (Paul). Preceding him in death was his older brother, Dr. Frank Burton (Mary).
A visitation will be held on Friday, May 12, 2023, from 6-7pm at Buchanan Funeral Service, 8712 N Council Rd., Oklahoma City, OK 73132. A funeral mass will take place the next day at 10:30am on Saturday, May 13, 2023, at Epiphany of the Lord Catholic Church, 7336 W Britton Rd., Oklahoma City, OK 73132, followed by the burial at Resurrection Memorial Cemetery. After the burial, the family invites all attending to join them for lunch at Epiphany of the Lord Catholic Church.