Two untimely deaths on Christmas day greatly saddened area residents

John H. Burton, 53, of Seaford, died on Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2002, at Milford Memorial Hospital. Grant E. Crouse, 16, of Seaford, died the same afternoon in a traffic accident. Mr. Burton was a respected business leader who gave generously of his time and resources to help in the community. Mr. Burton owned and operated Seaford Burton Chevrolet in Seaford. He was named Time Quality Dealer of the Year by the Delaware Auto Dealers Association in 1992, and was president of that organization in that year. Burtonís many community service accomplishments and involvement include:
  • First president and charter member of the Nanticoke Rotary Club where he was instrumental in the building of two Rotary Houses (homes for the homeless) in western Sussex County.
  • Chairman of the Capital Campaign Committee for the Western Sussex Boys & Girls Club.
  • Recipient of the Chamber of Commerce, John A. Moore Jr. Community Services Award in 1998.
  • Sponsor of the Athena Award, which is given to an individual promoting women in business.
  • Co-chair of the annual Heartwalk for the American Heart Association.
  • Statewide recognition by the Business and Professional Women as the Employer of the Year in Delaware in 1998.
  • Chairman of the McCabe Scholarship Selection Committee for Swarthmore College.
Mr. Burton donated the use of a new car each year to the Teacher of the Year and provided vehicles for drivers education programs. Mr. Burton was born in Milford in 1949, son of Irwin G. Burton and the late Maradel Burton. He attended school in his hometown where he was active in both athletics and student government. He attended Swarthmore College as a McCabe Scholar, graduating in 1971. Following graduation he and his friend Jack Allen toured the country for several months before returning to Milford to work in the family automobile dealerships. He was a committed Christian having joined the Atlanta Road Alliance Church in 1996. There he taught Sunday school, the Pioneer Club, and was a member of the leadership committee for Encounter 2002, Evangelistic Crusade. Mr. Burton was the beloved husband of the former Gloria Wilson; the loving father to three daughters, Heather of Bear, and Kristen, a student at the University of Pennsylvania, and Ashley Hardesty of Seaford. Also surviving is a brother, David Burton of Milford; six sisters, Bonnie Barnidge of Seaford, Sally Sonnichsen of The Villages, Fla., Nellie Ziegler of Tucson, Ariz., Peggy Spengler of Frederica, Joy Hudecz of New York City, and Suzanne Graham of Lake Mary, Fla. Funeral services were held on Monday, Dec. 30, at the Atlanta Road Alliance Church. Interment was in the family plot at St. Georgeís Episcopal Chapel Cemetery, Lewes. In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to the mission fund of the Atlanta Road Alliance Church, P.O. Box 756, Seaford, DE 19973. Arrangements were by the Cranston Funeral Home, Seaford. The Delaware State Police Fatal Accident Investigation and Reconstruction Team is investigating the single-vehicle crash that killed Grant Crouse. At approximately 3:50 p.m., a 1993 Oldsmobile Delta 88, operated by the youth was southbound on Sussex 527, three miles east of Bridgeville. Police said as the vehicle entered a curve in the road the youth apparently lost control of the vehicle on the wet roadway. It was raining at the time. The vehicle exited the roadway, and overturned. The roof of the vehicle struck a tree, the vehicle then spun and came to rest in an upright position. Grant Crouse was pronounced dead as a result of injuries he sustained in the crash. Grant was a popular Junior at Seaford High School. He was known for being loveable, playful, cheerful, always ready with a smile. Grant was a member of the soccer and swim teams. He was very athletic and energetic, always wanting to be doing something. He has been described as a smiling blonde-haired kid that made the day, and that everyone wanted to be like. Grant was born in Seaford the son of Charles Richard Baker of Bridgeville, and Donna Crouse Jones of Seaford. He was a Junior at Seaford High School where he was a member of the soccer and swim teams. Besides his parents, he is survived by a sister, Amanda Jean Jones, at home; a step-father, Charles Lee Jones of Delmar; his maternal grandparents, Newton and Carol Crouse of Seaford; his paternal grandparents, Charles and Marianna Baker of Bridgeville; his great grandparents, Ed and Ruth Cable of Seaford; an uncle and aunt, David and Tina Crouse and their three children of Seaford; and three other aunts: Denice Crouse of Venice Beach, Calif; Patsy Brasure of Selbyville, and Charlie McCarty and her three daughters of Lewes. A service was held on Monday, Dec. 30, at Kingdom Hall of Jehovahís Witnesses, Rt. 13A, Seaford-Laurel Highway. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the Grant E. Crouse Soccer Memorial Fund at any Wilmington Trust Branch.

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