Thomas Burton, 86, passed away at home on May 22, 2021.
He was born in Burnsville, NC to the late Clarence and Willie Dale (McIntosh) Burton, and spent most of his early school years in NC, to include Western Carolina College (now University). Tom is survived by his wife, Diana (Waite) Burton of Middletown; his daughter Alayna Collyott of MO; his brother, Paul Burton of WI, his grandson, Joseph Collyott of AR and his goddaughter, Marie Parker, of FL.
Tom served twenty six years in the U.S. Army, entering as an enlisted man. After five years he received a direct commission to officer rank. He retired from Fort Monmouth in 1984 as a Major. During the time serving his country, he was stationed in Texas, North Carolina, Massachusetts, France, California’s Presidio, Washington DC, New Mexico, Florida, and Belgium, as well as serving in the Korean War and two tours of the Vietnam War.
In 1968 when completing his undergraduate degree in MO, he met and married his wife, Diana. Both loved traveling and learning. During their 53 years together they have explored well over sixty countries, enjoying lovely accommodations and fine food wherever they went.
Tom was known for his love of Japanese culture. On his trips to Japan he spent many hours touring gardens, planning his own, and learning about koi which led to his hobby. He was a mainstay in the Mid-Atlantic Koi Club and helped form the koi health hotline. His garden encompasses two large koi ponds and an authentic tea house. It has been featured in numerous magazines and newspapers and was on the cover of a koi book. You can take a tour with Tom of his koi ponds and garden at https://youtu.be/LJ5ziqCYtKk or by asking Google for “Tom Burton’s Pond”. He designed and built it all as well as helping many more build their dream pond and garden. He remained a volunteer consultant for many years.
While living in Europe he collected and drove exotic cars, and that enjoyment carried over to his return to the U.S. where he always drove some of the best. He left four special vehicles and probably would now wish you’d help Diana find good homes for them.
He spent many years traveling the world to ski, as well as hike and bike. He is known for saying “What a life! If it gets any better, I’m not sure I can stand it.” After retiring he learned to cook and collect wine, taking eating and drinking to new heights. And yet, often noting the old Chinese proverb that goes, “A man who knows when he has enough is rich beyond measure,” he always said, “All I ever wanted was enough, to know what was enough” and he said it with his forever well-known smile.
All arrangements are private and under the direction of the John E. Day Funeral Home 85 Riverside Avenue Red Bank, NJ 07701.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent in Tom’s memory to Monmouth County’s Friends of the Park at https://www.co.monmouth.nj.us/documents/158/Honorary-Memorial-Donation.pdf
Please visit Tom’s memorial page at www.johnedayfuneralhome.com