Wayne Burton passed away at his home in Pilot Mountain on Sunday, November 15, 2020, from melanoma cancer. He was born July 26, 1944, in Winston-Salem, at the old City Hospital, the youngest of three children born to the late H.A. and Marie Miller Burton. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Bennie Venable Burton of Pilot Mountain; and two daughters, Adriane Burton of Austin, TX, and Casie Burton of Mooresville. He was Papa to his 7-year-old granddaughter, Naomi Rachel James Sales of Mooresville. Also surviving are two brothers, Harold Burton (Jane) of Fuquay-Varina and William “Bill” Burton (Ann) of Raleigh; and a sister-in-law, Patricia Beavers (Jay) of Manassas, VA.
Wayne graduated from Griffith High School in Winston-Salem in 1962. He was voted the most popular, friendliest, and wittiest by his graduating class. He played baseball and football all four of his high school years and was Forsyth 2A All Conference (1st team) guard during his senior year. Throughout his life, he maintained a special bond with many of his classmates. He later attended Davidson Community College.
He proudly served in the United States Air Force from 1964 thru 1968, spending the last year in a combat zone in Phan Rang, Vietnam. While there he played on the Phan Rang Air Force Base Softball Team. He and his teammates won the base championship, which was a crowning achievement throughout his life.
Beginning in 1970, and for the remainder of his working life, he worked in the sign industry. In early 1974, he met his future wife, Bennie, on a flight from Atlanta, GA, to Greensboro. That same year they were married. Also, that same year, with Bennie’s support, he established Burton Electric Signs, Inc., in Mount Airy. The business grew with the help of dedicated and loyal employees and customers. Signs from the company were manufactured and erected throughout the United States and Canada. The business was sold in 2007 to a local group and Wayne continued to work there until his retirement in 2010.
Locally, he served on the board of directors of Reeves Community Center and was a member of the Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce. Burton Sign Company was the first recipient of the “Business in Education Award.” He was project chairman for Gentry Middle School Boosters Club and North Surry Academic Boosters Club. Professionally, he was a member of the board of directors of the International Sign Association, the Southern States Sign Council, Southeast Electric Sign Association, World Sign Associates, and the Private Industry Council. He was past president of the Southeast Electric Sign Association and the South States Sign Council. Wayne served on the Surry County Schools Board of Education for eight years (1992-2000) and the State School Boards Association for four years. In 1998, he was selected as a member of the All State School Board.
In 2008, Wayne began his bicycling adventures. Being inspired by his friend, Jerry Cash Martin, he began planning and training for his solo bike ride from Fairbanks, AK, to his home in Pilot Mountain. He left Fairbanks on June 21, 2010, and rolled into his driveway in Pilot Mountain on September 4, 2010. Throughout his journey of 4,747 miles, he peddled for 61 days, rested 14 days, had 16 flat tires, and averaged 78 miles per day. The most miles traveled in a day were 123 miles from Grand Prairie, Alberta, to Fox Creek, Alberta, Canada. He kept a journal with many great stories and pictures of the unforgettable people, places, and experiences he encountered during his travels.
For the last ten years, he has completed the Cycle North Carolina “Mountains to the Coast” rides with some really wonderful bicycling friends: Tim Welch, Ricky Blizzard, Tim Bowman, Dr. Bill Johnson (deceased), Tracy Moseley, and Katie Bolick. He and Bennie completed the New York, Erie Canal ride, from Buffalo to Albany, NY, in 2013 and the Hudson River Valley ride from Hudson to Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY, in 2014.
For the last eight years, he had served as a volunteer at Northern Regional Hospital, where he had formed a special bond with many of the volunteers and staff. For two years, he was honored with the Outstanding Volunteer Peer Award.
During his illness, he was blessed to be under the loving care of Dr. Susan Hines and her staff at Novant Oncology in Mount Airy. The outpouring of love and support from family, neighbors, friends, former employees, and White Plains Friends Meeting was a bright spot for Wayne during his illness. Mountain Valley Hospice of Pilot Mountain supplied an abundance of loving comfort and compassion during the final days of his life.
In 1960, he became a member of Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. “I have set before you life and death; …….therefore choose life.” Deuteronomy 30:19
A service of worship and celebration of Wayne’s life will be held Saturday, November 21, 2020, at 11:00 AM at Skyline Memory Gardens, with the Rev. Jake Penley and the Rev. Robert Blake officiating. At the conclusion of the service, a flag presentation will be conducted by the VFW Memorial Honor Guard. The family will receive friends Saturday from 9:00 until 10:30 AM at Moody Funeral Home in Mount Airy. Due to public health concerns, attendees are requested to wear a face mask and practice social distancing.
Memorials may be made to the Armfield Civic and Recreation Center, 873 West 52 Bypass, Pilot Mountain, NC 27041; The Children’s Center of Northwest North Carolina, P.O. Box 692, Dobson, NC 27017; or the Melanoma Research Foundation at melanoma.org.
To send flowers to Wayne's family, please visit our floral store.