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L. Virginia Burton

L. Virginia Burton, 90, of Urbanna passed away Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009.

She was born in St. Louis, Mo., grew up in Richmond, and spent most of her summers in Urbanna. Her parents were Dr. Marvin and Maybelle Burton.

After graduating from Barnard College in New York City, Ms. Burton worked in the Egyptian department of the Brooklyn Museum. She next worked her way up to become the head curator of Egyptology for The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her proudest accomplishment was overseeing the removal of the Temple of Dendur from Egypt and rebuilding it inside the Metropolitan Museum, where it can be visited today. 

Her love of boating and fishing were inherited from her father and grandfather, Columbus Burton, who owned and operated Burton’s Steamboat Wharf in Urbanna. A carpenter and colorful entrepreneur, Mr. Burton was noted for  the excellent quality of the wooden oyster shafts he also made and sold at Burton’s Wharf. 

After 30 years with the museum, Ms. Burton made her home in Urbanna in 1976.

She was a courageous, brilliant woman who taught herself to read Egyptian hieroglyphics. Her good friend, the writer Thomas Merton, who she knew in New York, visited with her in Urbanna and mentioned  her in his journals. Traveling throughout the Mideast, Ms. Burton journeyed (often alone) to many distant archeological spots where her charm led her through many hazardous encounters. Her joyousness,  quick wit and hilarious stories of old Urbanna, New York and Egypt will be missed.

She is survived by cousins and many special friends of all ages.

Graveside funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, in Christ Church Cemetery at Christchurch in Middlesex County. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10028-0198, or a charity of one’s choice.

Arrangements by Bristow- Faulkner Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Saluda.

posted 02.26.2009

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