Avid hunter and longtime educator, Burley Middleton (73) had a love of life and was the epitome of a great outdoorsman. Burley passed away on February 27, 2022, peacefully at his home in Sallisaw, Oklahoma.
Burley was born at home in Redland, Oklahoma, on September 8, 1948. He enjoyed a childhood of hunting, fishing, and playing with his three siblings before graduating Gans High School. Burley was drafted in 1969 and served his Country in the United States Army during the Vietnam War before being severely injured in the line of duty. Once he returned to the states, he earned degrees in Education and Administration from Northeastern State University and Westark Community College. Burley had a successful career in education as a teacher, coach, principal, and superintendent of Gans Public Schools, and, finally, as assistant superintendent for Sallisaw Public Schools where he dedicated 21 years of service before retiring in 2011. Burley was proud to be a part of the Black Diamond community and was passionate about serving the school and its students.
Burley was married to Janice (DeLozier) Neal for 17 years and together they had two girls, Jennifer and Julie. Years later, after a morning worship service in 1989, at Heritage Methodist Church in Van Buren, Arkansas, Burley married Cathy (Staab) Edwards, mother of Miranda and the late Michael Edwards.
Shortly thereafter, Burley and Cathy proudly added a baby boy, Logan, to the family. The simplest pleasures in life brought great joy to Burley. He had an uncanny ability to find happiness in the serenity and slow pace of nature, which he encouraged and shared with his loved ones.
Burley was preceded in death by his parents Raymond and Arlene (Ryan) Middleton of Redland, OK, his siblings Sharon Middleton (an infant sister), Brenda Moses, Shirley Blake, and Aubrey Middleton, all of Redland, OK, and a son-in-law Joel Fortner of Sallisaw/Tulsa, OK.
Burley is survived by his wife of 32 years, Cathy Middleton of the home, his son and daughter-in-law Logan and Kyrie Middleton of Muldrow, OK, daughters and sons-in-law, Jennifer and Sparky Hassenplug and Julie and Ricky Belk, all of Tulsa, OK, Miranda and Steven Goins of Fort Smith, AR, and a stepson Brett Tustin and family, of Poteau, OK. He is also survived by his grandchildren: Lauren (Fortner) and Jett Reeves, Megan Fortner, Braden and Addison Belk, Emma and Aspen Middleton, Lane and Amanda Hassenplug, Seth and Avery Hassenplug and great-grandchildren Charleigh Reeves, Clay and Vivian Hassenplug, as well as many sisters-in law, nieces, and nephews.
A memorial service will be held to honor and celebrate Burley’s life at Forever Memories in Sallisaw, OK at 1pm on Friday, March 4th, 2022.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking friends & family to donate to the Little Mended Hearts organization in honor of Burley Middleton and Baby Charleigh.
Burley’s health was declining drastically last summer, but when he found out his great-grandbaby had been born with a heart defect, he fought to stay in this world until he knew her open heart surgery was a success. He was proud to see that this precious baby had the same fight for life that he had had. The family knows that Burley would want anything his friends would give at his passing to go, instead, to help other babies with their battles for life.
Arrangements are under the direction of Forever Memories Funeral Services
463505 Hwy 101, Sallisaw, OK