Volume XVII, Issue 33 # August 13 - August 19, 2009


We welcome your opinions and letters – with name and address. We will edit when necessary. Include your name, address and phone number for verification. Mail them to Bay Weekly, 1629 Forest Drive, Annapolis, MD 21403 •E-mail them to [email protected]. or submit your letters on-line by clicking here.

Thanks, Bill Burton, for the Memories

Dear Bay Weekly:

I’ll never forget the first time I met Bill Burton. It was in 1986, the first year I ran for the Senate, at the Maryland Seafood Festival. There he was holding court with his pipe. He looked like he’d stepped from the pages of a Schweppes gin and tonic ad. I introduced myself and noted that I was an avid reader of his columns. I also said that he had taken every politician named Tom, Dick and Harry on his fishing trips, but never anyone named Jane or Barbara.

He said ‘You’re on!’ and invited me to the next Water and Woods Ball. I’ve been about every year since, and in between we went fishing too. I learned a lot during these trips. Bill was not only a first-rate reporter; he was a first-rate advisor and friend. I leaned on him often for sage political and Bay advice.

Bill Burton has enriched the lives of so many. He’s been a one-man environmental movement, bringing joy and appreciation for the Bay to every reader who’s picked up his column. To those lucky enough to call him a friend, he’s brought endless mirth, mischief and wisdom. His legacy as an old-school journalist, environmentalist and sage Bay advocate will live on now and forever in Maryland lore.

–Barbara Mikulski, Baltimore: U.S. Senator

Dear Bay Weekly:

I was sorry to hear about Bay Weekly — and all of us — losing Bill Burton. I think I hear some tearful calls coming from the osprey nests in Herring Bay.

–Pat Piper, Arlington

Dear Bay Weekly:

How fitting that the rare hummingbird (at least at Bill’s home) should finally make an appearance at Casa Burton shortly before his passing. It’s as if the elusive hummer was the final jewel in the crown of a life well lived. We have lost a treasure.

Tight fishing lines and full creels, Bill. You will be missed.

–Gary Schmidt, Dunkirk

Dear Bay Weekly:

A fine man, a fine writer, a fine life.

–Al McKegg, West Friendship

Dear Bay Weekly:

I was so sorry to hear about Bill Burton. I am hoping that his new view of the outdoors is spectacular!

–Sue Kullen, Governor’s Run: Maryland Delegate

Dear Bay Weekly:

It’s always odd when you meet a living legend. When I started working for Bay Weekly, I started hearing the Bill Burton stories. He was a great fisherman, a great writer and the life of the Bay Weekly office parties. By the time I joined the newspaper he didn’t visit as often, but I hoped that I would get my chance to talk with the legend.

It was well worth the wait to meet him. Editor-in-Chief Sandra Martin lured him to the paper with a promise of rhubarb pie, his favorite. Instead of taking all his treat home, Burton took it into our conference room, carving slices of pie for one and all. 

“Come get your pie, young woman,” he said in a commanding sandpaper tone. As he ate, I listened to his stories: Memories of past pies, a childhood in the Great Depression and more.

The pie was sweet, the memory sweeter.

–Diana Beechener, Pasadena, Bay Weekly Staff Writer