Brown, William “Burton”

U.S. Navy Veteran Was Longtime Attorney, Founder Of Burtco, And Lifelong Learner

  • Tuesday, October 3, 2023
William “Burton” Brown
William “Burton” Brown

William “Burton” Brown died peacefully after an illness on September 27, 2023.

Burton was born October 20, 1932, to Madge Blaylock Brown and Henry LaFayette Brown at home on Mission Ridge in Rossville, and baptized in a tributary of West Chickamauga Creek. He attended a two-room local school and The Bright School. After graduating from McCallie School and Emory University, he served as a naval officer aboard a minesweeper, the USS Sanderling, during the Korean War. He passed the Georgia Bar exam while still a student at Emory Law School and began his law career in Atlanta, eventually serving as Assistant U.S. Attorney General under Robert F. Kennedy, an experience he fondly recalled.

After marrying Catherine Girardeau, he moved with his wife and two young daughters back to Walker County to practice law in Lafayette and Rossville. His friends and family have greatly enjoyed his many tales of his days as a litigator, family lawyer, and criminal defense attorney. Eventually, he left the law firm he established, Brown, Harriss, and Hartman, to focus on other interests including developing real estate and founding an innovative custom carpet manufacturing company, Burtco. He later married Virginia Brooks with whom he raised bison and created an equine therapy program for special needs children at his horse farm in Flintstone, Ga. Throughout his life, Burton loved riding horses, camping, hiking, and paddling his canoe throughout the American West, Canada, and Alaska. He was a lifelong learner who inherited from his father a deep passion for philosophy, science, farming, and enjoyment of the outdoors. Exuberantly convivial, Burton amassed and maintained contact with a wide and diverse circle of friends throughout his life, and for many years he joined his brothers for a homemade breakfast every Saturday morning.

Burton is predeceased by his eight siblings, Virginia Brown Minter, Thomas Walter Brown, Dr. James Henry Brown, Martha Brown Fields, Ralph LaFayette Brown, Marion Jefferson Brown, Joseph Eugene Brown, Robert Livingston “Bo” Brown and brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Dr. Winfred “Win” Pleasants Minter, Ella Frances Baird Brown, Carol Olson Brown, John Henry “Jack” Fields, Charles Lawwill Felner, and Frances Girardeau Felner.

Survivors include his daughters Elizabeth Brown (Chris) Moore of Atlanta and Louise Brown (Karl-Heinz) Lochner of Alpharetta, Georgia, and grandchildren Catherine Moore, Helen Moore, Bethlehem Lochner, Ash Lochner and step-grandsons Rene Lochner and Heiko Lochner. He is also survived by his sisters-in-law Joan Blackshear Atkins Brown, Pearl Brown, Betty Conner Brown, and Mary Minor Hawes Brown, along with many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.

The family wishes to express deep gratitude to Burton’s loyal farm manager Rodolfo Muro and his wife Rosalba who made it possible for Burton to live independently.

A celebration of Burton’s life will take place at 2 p.m. on Nov. 5, at Heritage Funeral Home in Fort Oglethorpe. The family will receive friends from noon until 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to Lula Lake Land Trust (www.LulaLake.org), PO Box 395, Lookout Mountain, TN 37350, or to Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center (www.ReflectionRiding.org), 400 Garden Road, Chattanooga, Tn. 37419.

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