Image: Reginald Clarence Burton Sr. November 10th 1945 - August 10th, 2021

When Reginald and Angela moved into their Pine Street home in 1998, we became closer neighbors.

Together, they raised two wonderful sons, who were near in age to my two children.

It is hard to imagine these two strong men were once cute little boys, but they were.

My early memories of Reginald are seasonal:

As a “Swim Club Dad” in the summers;

As a Coach during the school year; and

As a proud father, enabling his sons to succeed in education and the sacraments, in attendance at their celebrations, at St. Francis de Sales, even though he was not Catholic.

Reginald was simultaneously a traditional husband and a force for gender equality.

He was not shy about expressing pride in his wife and her career successes.

Through the years I watched Reginald make many contributions to our community.

He maintained his home as a showpiece.

He encouraged people to vote, for good candidates and causes.

He volunteered in a leadership role as the membership Vice President for Garden Court Community Association.

In 2003 he obtained a Real Estate license and for ten years, we cooperated as friendly competitors.

My last memory of him, is of stopping by the Burton home for a quick visit.

Reggie was upstairs, and ill.

When Angela let him know, “We have company”.

He came downstairs, dressed up in a beautiful suit.

As the ‘company’, I was astounded, but not really surprised, to see him make the effort to honor a guest with a visit and sartorial spender.

My most vivid memories are of the many times he and Angela hosted grand New Year’s Eve parties. He would greet guests with his camcorder and encourage us to make a resolution which would contribute to our success in the coming year.

Those parties were special!

Food was always excellent, and in abundance.

Several generations of family were in attendance.

The guest-lists were extraordinarily inclusive.

It is still rare to attend parties where people of different ages, complexions, faiths, incomes and neighborhoods gather.

Angela and Reginald dressed up, showed up and set an example for all of us who gather today.

It is easy to say Thank You and difficult to say Goodbye.

Reginald will be missed.

May he rest in peace and may all who love him have easy access to happy memories.

- Elizabeth Campion

P.S. From the publishers:

Please know that we send our prayers and sympathy to Reginald’s wife Angela and to their sons and family. We know that Angela’s tireless and uncomplaining care-giving to Reginald gave him strength as his illness progressed. May Reginald rest in peace, and may God watch over his family as they mourn his loss.

Bob and Claudia Christian, friends of the Burtons and publishers of the University City Review and Philadelphia Free Press.


Dear Angela, R.J and Michael,

In your time of grieving, (and healing), I thought I’d share some things I learned on my path of losing both parents, 9 siblings, a God-child and too many dear friends to count.

  1. For me, the most important lines in the “Lord’s Prayer” deal with the past and the future. They are:
    1. Forgive us our sins (debts) as we forgive others (our debtors).;
    2. Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.
  2. Let your relationship to rest. Separate NOURISHMENT from INTOXICATION. Learn to speak truth in your head.
    1. Breathe “I loved you” and “Thank you” and “I am sorry (or I forgive you)” as appropriate, and in the moment, as thoughts of the departed occur to you.
    2. If you begin poking the lost connection like a cocaine-addicted lab animal, recognize that you might be stuck in an immature or unhealthy head space and ask for help, preferably from a professional, or from a trusted friend or family member.
    3. Accept that the past is finished. No justifications, excuses or apologies can change it. We can each take the good and pay it forward.
  3. Anchor yourself in the NOW, with the goal of journeying to a happier, healthier future. Don’t wait for the “right time”. That is just stalling. Hug and accepts hugs. Digital buffers can be avoidance and don’t come with the benefit of the clarity body language, tone or touch.
  4. Storytelling is important. Elie Wiesel said, “For the survivor who chooses to testify, it is clear: his duty is to bear witness for the dead and for the living. He has no right to deprive future generations of a past that belongs to our collective memory. To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time." --

I leave you with some quotes, from deeper thinkers than I.

“All human beings have three lives: public, private, and secret.” ― Gabriel García Márquez

“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense that once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.” — James Baldwin

“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.” -- Sigmund Freud

“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” — Rachel Carson

And two from Maya Angelou

“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” ―

“And when great souls die

After a period, peace blooms

Slowly and always

Irregularly. Space fills

With a kind of soothing electrical vibration.

Our senses, restored, never to be the same.

Whisper to us.

They existed. They existed.

We can be.

Be and be better. For they existed."

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