Nancy Burke Burton
July 16, 1934 – March 1, 2023
As they admired their new baby sister, born in 1934 in Westfield, Mass., Nancy Burke Burton’s three older sisters pleaded with their mother to name her after the precocious, little girl at the center of their favorite comic strip, “Nancy.” It was a prophetic choice because Burton also attracted legions of adoring fans with her sharp wit, cheeky humor, loyal friendship and knack for becoming the life of every party. She was a kind kid at heart who never met a stranger or skipped dessert until she died peacefully from natural causes on March 1 at age 88, her daughters by her side.
Burton’s funeral will be at 11:00 a.m., March 9, at her beloved Wrightsboro Baptist Church, where she has worshiped and filled the fellowship hall with prayer, food and laughter since she was a teenager. Pastor Eddie Eaton will officiate. Burton will be buried at Wrightsboro Cemetery between her late husband, James Brown Burton III, and her late mother, Rosalia Gonzalez Burke.
Burton was new to town — a Yankee, her classmates called her — when James Burton first spied her at Wrightsboro School and matter-of-factly said he had just met the girl he would marry. He was right, and the couple settled on family land in Castle Hayne’s Oakley neighborhood, where “the Yankees” endeared themselves to the Southerner in-laws by teaching them how to dance a mean Charleston. As they raised a family, the couple made their own, unique marks on Wilmington — he as a builder, and she as a dedicated employee of Belk Beery, where she became known by colleagues and customers from across North Carolina as “Personal Shopper Peggy Blake.” Burton’s keen fashion sense, eye for color and talent for scouting perfect gifts for every occasion kept the phones ringing at Belk in pre-Internet days. When she retired, many longtime customers, with whom she had developed genuine friendship, showered her with gifts.
At home, Burton assumed yet another name with her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great grandson — and every single one of their thousands of friends. She was everyone’s “Mimmie” — and as the name implies, she was love, comfort, peace, joy, safety and a smidge of mischief all rolled into one. It was impossible to visit a restaurant or store in New Hanover County without her seeing a longtime friend — or making a new one. “I’m a hugger,” she would say while wrapping her arms around anyone and everyone. As a result, all of her children are huggers, too.
Aside from her late husband and mother, Burton is predeceased by her father, Arthur Burke, and three sisters, Elaine Thurn, Barbara Ward and Marilyn Herring. She is survived by two daughters, Cynthia Burton Tatum (Robert) of Castle Hayne and Amy Burton Scruggs (Barry) of Leland, N.C.; four grandchildren; ten great-grandchildren; one great-great grandson; and many dear nieces and nephews living across the United States. Burton’s family requests that gifts in her memory be made to Wrightsboro Baptist Church.
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Wilmington Funeral & Cremation 1535 S. 41st Street, Wilmington, NC 28403 910-791-9099