Burton H. Gilpin died on Friday, April 5, 2019 at the age of 91 in Hughson, CA.
Burton was born March 27, 1928 in Camden, NJ to the late Burton and Roma (Tucker) Gilpin. The eldest of three children, his father died when he was 5 years old. He was raised in Newfoundland, PA, where he was active in Boy Scouts, FFA and athletics. He attended Greene-Dreher Vocational School until the age of 17, when he left home for Admiral Farragut Academy, Toms River, NJ, a prep school for the US Naval Academy. Although he was invited to attend the Academy, he declined the appointment, having already been recruited as a “Flying (Aviation) Midshipman,” attended naval flight school, received his Navy wings and already been commissioned as a naval officer. His career as a Navy Fighter/Test Pilot spanned 24 years and he is recognized as a key individual in the Navy’s development of the Navy Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun School) in Miramar, CA.
Burton was married to Beverley Reisner of Turlock/Ceres, CA on April 5, 1959. They lived in various places throughout the U.S. during his naval career including Oxnard, CA, Alexandria, VA and San Diego, CA. He retired from the Navy in 1970, returning to Newfoundland, PA where he taught middle and high school mathematics in the Wallenpaupack Area School District. He was an active member of the Hemlock Grove United Methodist Church. He was an avid gardener, hunter and fisherman, and belonged to the Lakeville Hunting Club for more than 60 years. Having grown up an athlete, he remained a sports enthusiast and fan, especially for high school sports. In 1983, Burton and Beverley moved back to California, setting down roots in Turlock. He regularly returned to Newfoundland, though, usually during deer-hunting season, to visit family and friends, and of course, to hunt.
Burton spent the past 35 years volunteering his time. He was actively involved in Kiwanis, the Pitman and Turlock High Key Clubs, tutoring children at Osborn School, and delivering meals on wheels. He was a founding member of local SIRS (Sons in Retirement). He also worked with Beverley’s favorite organization, German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California. Burton attended First United Methodist Church of Turlock and spent much of his time delivering taped church services and visiting the sick and elderly. Each Christmas season, he volunteered as a Salvation Army Bell Ringer. In 2006, he was recognized by Stanislaus County as an Outstanding Senior Citizen and volunteer of the year. Most weekday mornings you could find him enjoying coffee with his buddies at Latif’s.
He is preceded in death by his wife Beverley, his parents Burton H. and Roma Gilpin, his brother Willis Gilpin, Newfoundland, PA and sister Barbara Meissner, Austin, TX.
Burton is survived by his six children, Cate (Jim) McFrederick, Modesto, CA, Andrew (Sara) Gilpin, Camas, WA, Kevin (Paula) Gilpin, Riverbank, CA, Burton (Silvia) Gilpin, Cambria, CA, Ruth (Jon) Terry, Turlock, CA and Jane (Cynthia Williams) Gilpin, San Diego, CA. He is also survived by his six loving grandchildren, McKenna (Sam) Fazzari, Jon Terry, Daniel Terry, Ryan Gilpin, Andrew Gilpin and Camille Gilpin and his great granddaughter Eleanor Jane Fazzari.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 16, 2019 at the First United Methodist Church, 1660 Arbor Way, Turlock, CA. Interment will be at Miramar National Cemetery, San Diego, CA.
Donations in lieu of flowers should be made to the Turlock Kiwanis Club or First United Methodist Church Turlock.