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Beta Delta Profile: Ted Burton '49By Dave Trimmer '76

For every Beta Delta Sigma Chi, the Library at 1110 Gerald holds a special place in their heart. It's particularly moving for those that consider the brothers lost in World War II.  But for those that attended Beta Delta's 110th Anniversary at Homecoming in 2016, those pictures came to life. Brother Ted Burton '49, who earned two Bronze Stars, was part of the celebration.

Burton graduated from Missoula County High School in 1943 and was immediately drafted into the Army, serving in the 26th (Yankee) Infantry Division as an anti-tank gun crewman with the 3rd Army in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany under General George S. Patton.

He was in three campaigns, Northern France, Ardennes – the legendary Battle of the Bulge – and Rhineland. In addition to the Bronze Stars, he received the Combat Infantryman's Badge and the European Theatre Medal with three stars representing the three campaigns.  Not surprising, once you get to know him, he also earned a Good Conduct Medal.

When he returned home in 1946, he enrolled at the University of Montana. Veterans returning from WWII were anxious to get on with their lives, Burton explained. Beta Delta benefitted from the surge of older new students such as himself joining the returning veteran-students, plus an influx of recent high school graduates.

“Many war stories were told by the vets, which the younger set found inspiring,” Burton said. “Several vets had seen warfare at its worst. Some had earned Purple Hearts, one had been a POW and several earned impressive awards attesting to their many exploits.

When we learned more of the toll that the war had taken, several brothers began working on a memorial in their honor. Eddy O'Brien '49 was the prime mover in this effort.  On Mother's Day 1946, families of fallen Beta Delta Sigs held a ceremony in the back garden of The House to dedicate a barbecue fireplace and perform a White Rose ceremony,” Burton recalled. “Twenty four Sigs held White Roses in their hands and as the names of the fallen were called, they rose one-by-one and filled a frame which resulted in a beautiful White Cross. There were no dry eyes in the garden.”  The memorial committee gathered photos of the fallen brothers and hung them in the Library, where today they are the reminder of their ultimate sacrifice.

“The chapter had many serious, more mature students who were good scholars, setting a good example for the younger set,” Burton said. “An impressive number of them, later on, became successful professionals, physicians and businessmen.”

That includes Burton, who received his degree in chemistry in 1949. After working two years he went to the University of Washington to get his Masters degree and in 1953, embarked on a career in petroleum refinery that led him to live in Aruba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Sigma Chi and the University of Montana have always been special to Burton. To that end, he and his wife have established three scholarship endowments: one in chemistry, one at the Flathead Lake Bio Station in memory of a Sig classmate and the Scheuch Scholarship benefitting active members of Beta Delta.

During the 110th Anniversary banquet, Ted asked to sit with actives which highlights his desire to be involved. The advice he shared was, “Set goals, and not let life become a series of fortuitous events.”

He also had a message for all the brothers. “Many Sigs from that era are very appreciative of the efforts to keep The House in good condition, maintain communication and provide scholarships to the members.”

It's the legacy of brothers like Ted Burton that make Beta Delta the special place it is.

 

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Core Values
Sigma Chi’s core values are Friendship, Justice and Learning. Our vision is to become the preeminent collegiate leadership development organization — aligned, focused and living our core values. Our mission is to develop values-based leaders committed to the betterment of character, campus and community.

Vision
The fundamental purpose of the Sigma Chi Fraternity is the cultivation, maintenance and promotion of the core values of Friendship, Justice and Learning.

Mission
In the pursuit of these high ideals, the Sigma Chi Fraternity is able to offer tremendous value in augmenting the collegiate experience and supporting the lifelong journey of each of its members. We hope to assist brothers in becoming men of character, caring husbands, compassionate fathers and community leaders.