Melvin L. Burton, a painting contractor and ranking amateur golfer for nearly 30 years, died of heart failure Monday at Carroll Hospital Center. The Westminster resident was 80.
Mr. Burton grew up in the Pimlico neighborhood of Baltimore. As a 17-year-old, he joined the Merchant Marine during World War II, making 13 trips across the Atlantic Ocean on Liberty ships, according to his family.
He originally worked with a private contractor before founding his business in 1947. Mr. Burton met his future wife, Helen Burton, through friends in 1951. They married in January 1952 and lived in Pimlico before moving to Pikesville in the late 1960s, said his daughter, Yvonne McNeill of Sykesville.
Mr. Burton was an avid golfer and started playing in tournaments when he was in his 30s. He won four Baltimore public parks championships and numerous club events, and taught the game to children.
"Most of his time was spent on the golf course," Ms. McNeill said.
Mr. Burton retired from his business and golf in 1995 because of problems with his knees. He and his wife moved to Tremont Place in Westminster eight years ago.
Funeral services were held Friday at Fletcher Funeral Home in Westminster. He was buried in Lake View Memorial Park in Sykesville with military honors.
In addition to his daughter and wife, he is survived by sons Herb Burton of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Jack Burton of Etters, Pa.; brothers George E. Burton of Baltimore and Gene Burton of Woodstock; sister Mary Lou Johnson of Charlotte, N.C.; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Contributions is his name may be sent to the American Heart Association, P.O. Box 5216, Glen Allen, Va. 23058-5216.