John Paul Burton

Age 75: Oral surgeon served in the Navy.

June 24, 2008|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,Sun Reporter

Dr. John Paul Burton, a retired oral and maxillofacial surgeon and businessman, died of kidney failure Saturday at Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center in Havre de Grace. He was 75.

Dr. Burton was born in Cowen, W.Va., and raised at Camp Caesar in Webster County, W.Va., where his father was camp director.

He was a pre-med major at West Virginia University and earned his dental degree from the University of Maryland Dental School in 1956.

"Dad never got an undergraduate degree from West Virginia University because in those days it was possible to go directly into dental school," said a son, Paul Steven Burton of Fayetteville, N.C.

Dr. Burton served as an oral surgeon in the Navy from 1957 to 1961, attaining the rank of lieutenant.

He practiced oral and maxillofacial surgery for three decades. His partner for more than 20 years was Dr. Philip C. Deardorff, a retired oral surgeon who now lives in San Diego.

"His career was cut short by liver failure caused by the hepatitis B virus contracted from the tainted blood of a patient in 1993," said another son, David R. Burton of Mason Neck, Va.

Forced into early retirement, Dr. Burton underwent a liver transplant in 1993, and for the last 15 years had been part of a clinical trial at the University of Virginia Medical School which developed a hepatitis B immune globulin program for liver transplant patients.

Dr. Burton also had a second career as a co-founder and co-owner of Chesapeake Billiards Inc., a Baltimore-based manufacturer of pool tables and furniture.

He started the business in his home in the Hampton section of Baltimore County.

The business later expanded to a factory in the 900 block of Washington Blvd., where it remained until it was sold in 1983.

"He was probably the most brilliant and smartest man I've ever known. He could wire or plumb a house. He had so much common knowledge and was a very gifted man," said Bob Elliott, his former business partner at Chesapeake Billiards.

Since 2005, Dr. Burton lived part of the year in Bel Air and Frostburg.

He enjoyed working around the house and travel.

"He was never happier than when he had a saw in his hand," said Paul Burton.

He was a former member of Calvary Baptist Church in Towson.

His wife of 46 years, the former Patsy Reed, died in 2000.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at the Lemmon Funeral Home, 10 W. Padonia Road in Timonium.

Also surviving are his wife of three years, the former Mary Ann Smulligan; another son, John P. Burton of Fredericksburg, Va.; a daughter, Jennifer Lynn Burton of Frostburg; a stepdaughter, Jackye Johnson of Bel Air; and 11 grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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