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Peter Ralph Burton

Friday, October 5, 2012

passed away peacefully from complications of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) on October 5, 2012.
 Peter was born in Windsor, New South Wales, Australia on August 5, 1952 to Harry Burton and Elizabeth Milne Burton. There were three other boys in the family:  Bruce, James & Anthony Russell. They lived in the country, first near Windsor, then near Moss Vale. When Peter was seven they moved to Mosman, a suburb of Sydney.
 Peter attended two private schools in Sydney:  the first was Newington College, Stanmore, probably his favorite. He had two fantastic teachers: one taught French, one taught Latin. This was his introduction to languages, a lifelong love. In 1964 they moved to Wahroonga, a suburb north of Sydney, Peter’s favorite home (5 Stuart Street). Then he attended Barker College and graduated from there in 1970. He was good at sports, and played cricket, rugby, tennis and squash.
 His family traveled.  At ten he went on a cruise with his mother and brothers to Tonga, Fiji & New Caledonia. When he was 17 they went on a month long tour of Asia. They also traveled to different parts of Australia.
 A turning point in his life occurred when he became a Christian at the age of 17.
 In 1974 Peter went to Europe, and was away for 5 months.  Perhaps the most significant part of that trip was the five week stay at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland, where the workers were instrumental in helping Peter. He had been struggling in his new Christian faith, but from that point on his trust in God was unshakeable.
 In 1978 Peter returned to Europe and to L’Abri.  It was there that he met Louise Udden. They were married in Minneapolis in May of 1979. They then moved to Sydney, Australia, where Peter completed a degree in Hebrew from the University of Sydney.  While there Christine Naomi was born in 1980, and Andrew David was born in 1983. Peter worked for the University of Sydney after completing his degree.
 In 1983 they moved to South Hamilton, Massachusetts, where Peter graduated with an M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Seminary.  While there Jonathan Mark was born in 1988.
 Peter took up an ambitious project with Hendriksen Publishers to do with Hebrew lexicography, and since he could work at home, they decided to move to Minneapolis where Louise’s family lives.  They purchased a home at 3921 10th Avenue South.  The children attended Minnehaha Academy. They joined Colonial Church of Edina.
 Peter was a natural teacher.  Through the years his teaching ranged from teaching Latin to math and science. But his first love was teaching Greek and Hebrew.  The first class he taught in Minneapolis was Hebrew. The last class he taught was Greek, as he was getting sick. He was also able to successfully tutor people who struggled with learning these languages.
 He started attending the Society of Biblical Literature and this became a lifelong passion for him.  He helped found the Biblical Lexicography section, which he co-chaired for over a decade and introduced new topics to the roster.
 At the time of his death he was working on several projects. Among others he was working on a book project on the concept of person and a New Testament Annotated Greek English Series for pastors and others with some Greek training.
 He is survived by his wife, Louise; children, Christine, Andrew (Liz), and Jonathan; brothers, Russell, James, and Bruce. Funeral service will be held on Thursday, October 11, 1pm, at Colonial Church of Edina, 6200 Colonial Way, Edina. Visitation will be for one hour prior to services at the church. Memorials preferred to ALS Association or L’Abri Fellowship.
New Hope, MN                                                                763-531-1777


Peter was a very kind man who loved Jesus and attempted to live out his faith in every aspect of his life with careful delieberate truthful actions.  We were friends for 22 years and 18 years ago he was my best man in my wedding.  I have never met anyone like him.  He leaves a big hole in my life.  Thankfully I will see him again in heaven where he reminded me we will be beyond this space and time constraints.  If you would like to talk with me more about Peter please contact me.   -A fellow pilgrim in the way of Christ.

I regret I just learned about Peter's death. Peter was a gifted linguist and text-critic, and cared greatly about trying to form an Institute of Biblical Linguistics, as an interactive association.  He did an excellent job of chairing the Linguistics Unit of the Society of Biblical Literature, and was an excellent colleague. I am very sorry about his loss to his family and to the discipline and the Twin Cities community of Bible scholars.

Submitted by Kango Takemura on

Peters passion for the Society of Biblical Literature was simply oustanding. Rarely have I seen a man so dedicated to Biblical work. I feel he used his linguistics and teaching skills for the true good of man and surved his life well before ascending to heaven. I am thankful to learn that his journey ended peacefully. Warm Regards, Mr. Takemura.

Submitted by Susanna Quinn on

Peter and Louise were friends of mine when I lived in Massachusetts. I enjoyed their friendship very much. Before their marriage, I first met them at Suisse L'Abri in 1978. While in Massachusetts, I remember going wild blueberry picking at Pigeon Cove, babysitting for Andrew and Christine, and spending Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners with them. After they moved to Minnesota, we eventually lost contact, but I do remember receiving a photo of their children when they moved to Minnesota. I am just learning of Peter's death (it is now June 2017), and of course am saddened to know of his illness and that he is now separated from his family, but am confident we shall all be in community in eternity. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Warm Regards, Susanna Quinn, susrqnn@gmail.com

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