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My Childhoood Memories of Burton Barber

By Becky McSpadden Avery, May 2003

From the age of 4 onward, I remember Burton being in our home several times, sometimes for a month or more at a time, while he conducted meetings for Dad. As a young person, I always liked when he came to stay. He would take the time out of his day to sit with me when I came home from school, just to talk about what had happened in my day, and what I was studying. Then, he'd add more history to whatever it was I had studied, and we would discuss the finer points (well, in truth, he discussed them - I listened). Since I would see him at least three times each year, he would always ask what new Scriptures I had memorized, and after listening to me quote them, he'd tell me I was doing well, but that I needed to do more because I might be one of those whose faith was tested by having no Scripture access in the trying times that were sure to be ahead.

Burton was a very generous man. He always had somebody that he was helping, sometimes with a sense of humor. During one meeting at Rittman, Ohio, I was saving dimes for a special pair of shoes I wanted. I counted them every morning, and Burton became interested in this project. He quietly began adding one dime a day to the pile. After a week of this, I began to seriously doubt my ability to count! By the time the three-week meeting was over, the pile of dimes had grown into enough money for the desired shoes. Burton laughed when I told him I thought he had been helping, although he would never admit to it. Years later, he brought up the subject, and asked me if I had learned how to count dimes yet.

As an adult, with a career as a writer, I referenced Burton's writing many times in my own writing. Once, when researching some material for a book on the Church, I wrote to Burton and asked him if I could quote a considerable section of a book he had written. He wrote back, giving me free reign to copy or quote anything he had ever written in any format I so desired. He wanted no royalties for it, he only wanted the work to bless others. In the last few months of his life, he remained a champion and encourager. In his last note to me, he wrote that he was so proud of what I was doing, so blessed to have known me from such a young age, and full of good memories of our times together. Mind you, there was an age span of over 40 years, yet he never seemed to notice that - he was a friend to all.

Becky McSpadden Avery, Ed's youngest daughter

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