Tony Burton (1929-2018)

Tony Burton

Anthony David Burton, 89, of Garrison, died on May 24, 2018, at Emerald Peak Nursing home in Peekskill. Among his survivors is his wife of 49 years, Leonora Burton, who owns The Country Goose in Cold Spring.

Born April 3, 1929, in Birmingham, England, he was the son of George and Ethel Burton. He grew up in Birmingham and Coventry with his brother, George.

After leaving school, Tony became an apprentice reporter for a local Birmingham newspaper before landing a job at the London Daily Mirror. Several years later, he moved to the U.S. and, after a stint at The Knickerbocker News in Albany was hired in the late 1950s by the New York Daily News.

He met Leonora Fairclough, a native of Newport, Wales, in the Oak Room of the Plaza Hotel. (She had moved to the U.S. in 1967.)  It did not take too long for the two of them  to decide to get married, which they did on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.

During his time at the Daily News, Tony covered everything from the arrival of the Beatles in 1964 (he called it “the Beatle bounce” because spectators at CBS Studios bounced in their seats during a performance on The Ed Sullivan Show) to the Attica prison uprising in 1971 and the death of Louis Armstrong that same year.

In 1967 he was on a team at the Daily News that was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for helping a woman from the Bronx adopt a young Mexican boy who had been chained to a kennel for many years.

In 1972 he was among 151 Daily News employees who signed an ad they had hoped to place in the newspaper calling on President Nixon to make peace in Southeast Asia. (The paper refused to run it, so the employees bought space in The New York Times.)

In 1973 he wrote his first book, Solo: Self Portrait of An Undercover Cop. His work at the Daily News brought him into contact with the undercover cop whose code name was Solo. He later wrote several novels: The Embrace of The Butcher, The Coventry Option and The Department of Corrections. His most recent, Jackie True, was published this year,

He left the Daily News in 1990 to work as a foreign correspondent for the London Daily Mail.

In 1978 the couple’s twin boys, Robert and David, were born. The family moved to the Highlands from New York City in 1983 because Tony’s newly widowed mother was relocating to the U.S. from a small Welsh town to live with the family.

“She would not have enjoyed the city,” Leonora once recalled. “She needed a place where Tony could commute and where our 5-year-old twins could go to school. We found Cold Spring.”

For a number of years Tony ghostwrote a column in The Current called “Sitting on the Bench,” under the byline of Tara, the resident dog of The Country Goose.

Besides his wife, Tony is survived by two sons, Robert John Burton (Cathrine) of South London, and David Ross Burton (Deanna) of Plantation, Florida, and two grandchildren, Eliza Burton and Betsy Burton.

Funeral services will be private. Memorial donations may be made to the Desmond-Fish Library in Garrison (desmondfishlibrary.org).


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One thought on “Tony Burton (1929-2018)

  1. Lots of love to Leonora and her family on the passing of her loving, remarkable Tony.