On Wednesday, November 22, 2017, Mrs. Hattie E. Burton quietly made her transition. A beacon of the Chicago community and the matriarch of the Burton family, she was embraced by many who had the pleasure of being taught by her as an educator. The mother of ABC 7 anchorwoman and award-winning journalist, Cheryl Burton, Mrs. Burton often accompanying her daughter to various functions–building her own fans along the way.
Vice President and News Director, Jennifer Graves released a statement on behalf of the ABC 7 family:
“We were saddened by the news that Cheryl Burton’s mom, Hattie, passed away last week. Many of us had the pleasure and honor of meeting Hattie Burton through the years. She was a dynamic woman who dedicated her life to her family, education and community. Hattie’s legacy lives on in Cheryl. We want Cheryl to know that her ABC 7 family supports her and offers our deepest condolences during this very difficult time.”
Hattie E. Woods Burton, affectionately called, “Frey” by her children, is a spirit like no other. She is a native of Birmingham, Alabama and moved to Chicago in 1958. In 1951, Mrs. Burton graduated from Miles College in Birmingham, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business, and married her college sweetheart, Simpson L. Burton. Shortly after graduation, Hattie and Simpson moved to Cheyenne Wyoming, where Simpson was stationed in the U.S. Air force and Hattie was a civilian instructor in the Administration Technical School teaching typing, English and Office Practices to the Airmen. The two oldest of Hattie and Simpson’s five children, Michelle and Shirley, were born in Cheyenne Wyoming.
In 1958, The Burton family moved to Chicago, Illinois where Hattie and Simpson had the last three of their five children, William, Cheryl and Sherri. Mrs. Burton taught in the Chicago Public Schools System for 38 years. Her last years of teaching were spent working in both regular and early childhood special education programs. After retiring from the Chicago Public Schools System, Hattie and another retired teacher started a Special Education Program at the Evangelical Christian School. As a teacher, Mrs. Burton positively shaped the lives of many children and was an inspiration and encouragement to them and their families. While teaching, Hattie earned a Master of Science degree in School Guidance and Counseling from Chicago State University. She decided to attended graduate school after her daughters, Michelle Burton Mays and Shirley Burton graduated with their Master’s degrees and encouraged her to pursue her Master’s degree, as well. .
Mrs. Burton has been involved in many facets of her community. She spent summers working for the City of Chicago, as a career counselor in the Model Cities Programs. These programs provided guidance, jobs and cultural exposure for high school students in an effort to prepare them for further education and training. Mrs. Burton volunteered for many years to transport Senior citizens to and from the election polls. She also volunteered as a Senior Reader, where she read to children in youth programs at the South Central Community Center. Hattie is an ordained deacon at the Crerar Memorial Presbyterian Church, where she nurtured the sick and shut-in as well as assumed other responsibilities related to the church and her community. She is an associate member of Faith Presbyterian Church in Pembroke Pines, FL where she resides during the winter season. Mrs. Burton is a member of the Metropolitan Cluster, a women’s public service organization. She is also a member of the Mather’s More Than a Café Senior Citizen Chorus. This chorus serves as an inspiration to Seniors in the community and to the community at large.
In 2011, Mrs. Burton received the Year of the Woman Black United Fund of Illinois: Year of the Woman Award, in which she was honored at the Living Legends Passing the Torch ceremony where she passed on the torch to her daughter, Cheryl Burton.
Mrs. Burton and three of her daughters are proud, life members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
Mrs. Burton has three grandsons, Robert, Michael and Matthew and one granddaughter, Olivia. She often boast that she has the greatest in-law children in the world, Denise, Jonathan, Richard and Jeannette. Hattie resides in Chicago, Illinois.
SOURCE: ABC 7 Communications Department