Dr. Roderic N. Burton passed away August 12, 2021. He was Professor Emeritus and Department Head of the Department of Social Work at Tennessee State University. During his tenure at TSU, he volunteered with numerous entities including the Association of Gerontology and Human Development in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the White House Conference on Aging, the National Caucus and Center of the Black Aged, and the United Way of Wilson County. On an annual basis, he hosted the Elder Abuse Institute at Tennessee State University.
An Alpha Man, Dr. Burton was initiated into the Beta Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, Inc. at Tennessee State University, November 1964.
Dr. Burton received his B.S. in Social Administration, June 1968 from TN Agricultural & Industrial State University, his M.S. in Social Work, June 1973 from the University of Tennessee, and his Ed.D. in Human Development Counseling, December 1991 from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. Furthermore, Dr. Burton became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker first earning the certification in May 1976 and maintaining the certification until the time of his death. Subsequently, Dr. Burton successfully completed a program of study in Clinical Social Gerontology at The Atlanta University Center on Aging where he received his certification on February 17, 1984.
He was drafted into the U.S. Army on July 12, 1956 and served until April 25, 1958. During that time, he served in the Korean War as a Medical Corpsman in the 44th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. Upon his discharge from the Army, he went to work for the Lebanon Housing Authority (LHA) where he worked for 45 years. He was the first African American in administration with the Lebanon Housing Authority. In 2015, the Lebanon Housing Authority renamed The Inman Court Community Center as the Dr. Roderic N. Burton Community Center. While working at the LHA, from 1968-1971, he also worked full-time as a Counselor with the Department of Urban and Federal Affairs. At the urging of Mrs. Annie B. Martin, one of his professors in the Social Work program at TSU, Dr. Burton began his career in higher education by teaching one course per quarter beginning in 1972. His love for the profession translated in an invitation to join the faculty on a full-time basis in September 1973. Dr. Burton remained a leader and steadfast presence in the Department of Social Work until his retirement from TSU on December 31, 1998.
In addition to his work with the Lebanon Housing Authority and Tennessee State University, Dr. Burton had an industrious spirit and on November 26, 1974 formed Burton Consultant and Counseling Services, Inc. He frequently consulted with nursing homes on establishing and operating Social Services Programs. In 1977, he became a Limited Partner in Quality Care Health Care Center in Lebanon, TN and retired from that line of work in 2011.
Dr. Burton is survived by his wife of 51 years, Martha A. Burton; three sons Quintin N. Burton (Greselda Denise), Nathan A. Burton (Amanda), and Roderic M. Burton; grandchildren, Katherine Marie Burton and William Maxwell Burton; brother, Fred Anthony Burton, Sr. (Billie); Nieces Lia Malone, Shaunea V. Malone, and Taunya Malone; nephews Fred Anthony Burton Jr. and Roosevelt Malone III; cousin Gwendolyn B. Owens; and mother-in-law Joyce G. George.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Alive Hospice, Mid-Cumberland Meals on Wheels or the Nashville Rescue Mission. The family is compiling a book of tributes to Dr. Burton. If you would like to honor Dr. Burton for the way in which he touched your life, please write a tribute and e-mail it to Milton and Brunchie Wells at Milton181@bellsouth.net.