Ruth Lorraine Burton (“Lorraine”), 90, died peacefully on December 26, 2020, at Westminster Health and Rehabilitation Center, Rock Hill, South Carolina, where she resided for the past six years.
Lorraine was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on September 17, 1930, and grew up in Peoria, Illinois. She was the daughter of the late Earl Kidder Smith and Gladys Underwood Smith, and sister to Shirley Smith Bodtke and Dean Smith, who predeceased her.
Lorraine graduated from Bradley University in Peoria, majoring in English, with minors in Art and Business. She was listed in the “Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.” After graduating from college, Lorraine worked as a secretary at Caterpillar Inc.’s headquarters in Peoria. There she met a young sales trainee from Virginia named Waverly Mason “Burt” Burton. Four months after their introduction, Lorraine and Burt married on September 11, 1954 in Peoria. Burt’s career with Caterpillar moved them around the United States. Lorraine’s outgoing personality helped make lasting friendships wherever they lived. Their last move was to the Charlotte, North Carolina area and they made their home in River Hills, Lake Wylie, South Carolina. They retired and were active in the River Hills and Lake Wylie communities.
Lorraine was multi-talented. She was a kindergarten teacher, special education substitute teacher, and held executive assistant positions for over a decade, all while raising her children. Her passions were art, music and the theatre. An accomplished oil and watercolor artist, Lorraine exhibited locally in Lake Wylie and York County, including an exhibit when she was 80 years old. She created artworks for the River Hills Church, local businesses, and for family and friends. In addition, Lorraine was “volunteer of the year” at York Place in York, SC, where she taught art to young students. Lorraine had a beautiful singing voice and was an enthusiastic thespian, especially in comedic roles. Her community theater roles at The Lake Wylie Community Theater included Gert in “70, Girls, 70” and Carlotta Campion in “Follies.”
Lorraine was a lifelong supporter of women’s education. Her membership in the philanthropic educational organization known as The P.E.O Sisterhood was an important part of her life. She served on P.E.O.’s State Board of South Carolina for seven years and served a term as South Carolina’s President for all chapters.
Burt, her beloved husband and partner of almost 55 years, predeceased her in 2008. Lorraine’s four children survive her: Matthew Franklin Burton (Sanae) of Cincinnati; Lynette Burton Aggeles (former spouse Thomas) of Charlotte; Tracey Giles Burton (Kenneth Moller) of Portland, Maine; and Alicia McCay Burton Lloyd (Jeffrey) also of Cincinnati. Lorraine was blessed to see her eleven grandchildren grow up and knew that her very first great-grandchild was on the way.
A Memorial Service for Lorraine will be announced when it is safe to travel and gather, hopefully in early Spring.
A donation in memory of Lorraine can be made to the P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education at https://donations.peointernational.org
Lorraine’s family would like to thank the management and staff at Westminster Health and Rehabilitation Center for their kindness and taking such good care of Lorraine while she was in residence.
To send flowers to Ruth's family, please visit our floral store.