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Alvan Robert Burton
By Sentinel News Service
Published November 5, 2009

Alvan Robert Burton

Alvan Robert Burton
– Juan E. Morse

Much loved and well respected photographer, community advocate, and youth mentor, dies at age 84.

Alvan Robert (“Burt”) Burton, born to Matt and Arma (Newton) Burton in Ruston, Louisiana, moved to Los Angeles in 1939 where he accepted Christ as his personal Savior and was baptized by the late Reverend W. L. Strauther, founder and then pastor of the Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church.

Alvan served in the United States Air Force during World War II. After an honorable discharge, he became a professional photographer, operating his own studio on east 41st Street, serving Thomas Jefferson High School, the Central Avenue Business Community, as well as many local churches, society events, and civic organizations. He was instrumental in getting coverage in the Los Angeles Times for black athletes at Thomas Jefferson High School at a time when the only available outlet for such coverage was through minority-owned newspapers. He was awarded a life-time membership in the NAACP for his dedicated service to his church, the Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church, located at 1334 East 41st Street. For more than 50 years, he mentored dozens of young men and women in the skills of photography-especially students at Jefferson High School, many of whom have gone on to great careers in life. The Jefferson High School Alumni was his lifetime involvement affiliation as he remained extremely active in it over 60 years after his own graduation. After retiring from the profession of photography, Alvan became involved with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) serving as an activist and advisor/committee member to the Interscholastic Athletics Association & the Parent Collaborative. He also involved himself with the events held by the California Black Aviation Association. Over the years, he played active roles in serving the community in which he lived-The Mid-City Neighborhood Council & The Victoria Park Neighborhood Association; He was an avid supporter of the Friends of Allensworth as well as the Friends of the Washington-Irving Branch Library-having recently completed a successful photo exhibit there.

He leaves behind to celebrate his very full and active life, his sisters; Olivia Logan and Myra Cain; his brother: Everette Burton, and brother-in-law, Rev. Bobby Cain-all of Los Angeles, a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and a multitude of friends.

He was well loved and respected by all with whom he come into contact, and will be missed.

Categories: Celebration of Life

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