Claremore Daily Progress


June 25, 2013

Burton John Lincoln

CLAREMORE — Burton John Lincoln was born July 28, 1939 in Bristow, Okla. He was reared and educated in his birth community.

Burton passed away on Saturday, June 15, 2013 of complications from Diabetes at the age of 73.

Burton displayed from a very early age a thirst for knowledge and an astonishing aptitude for learning new skills, both of which he maintained throughout his life. Following his 1957 graduation from Bristow High School, where he achieved high grades and a perfect attendance record, Burton served in the US Army through 1960. After attending missile school in Huntsville, Alabama, he was stationed in Fort Collins, Colorado, ultimately attaining the rank of Buck Sergeant. He was honorably discharged and subsequently received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern State University in Alva.

Burton spent his professional career with the immunization branch of the Center for Disease Control. Among his proudest accomplishments was his participation in the global campaign to eliminate the smallpox virus. For that success he was awarded a golden bifurcated needle symbolizing that effort. He would later become CDC Liaison to the state of New York dealing with the immunization needs of recent immigrants.

In the early 1990s, the CDC created a position to lead the immunization branch into the computer age. Already in his 50s, Burton had been considering retirement; instead he bought a computer, taught himself programming and won the job. He would go on to write the software behind the CDC’s proprietary Vaccine Management System (VACMAN), which is still in use in some form to this day. He remained in this position until his full retirement in 2009.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Burton was also devoted to athletics and physical fitness. He was captain of his high school football team and among many honors, he was voted athlete of the year. Later in life he was a frequent participant in marathons, finishing the New York Marathon multiple times, as well as races in other cities where he lived. He was also a self-taught painter, photographer and a voracious reader. His language skills included French, Spanish and some Arabic.

Burton was preceded in death by his mother Goldie J. Harper and his step- father Ben Harper. He is survived by three children; Nina of Atlanta, Georgia, Dina of Hanover, Pennsylvania and Gina of Las Vegas, Nevada; his younger brother, Ross; and his step- siblings Bob and Alice. He also leaves behind several half-brothers and sisters and many friends. He will be remembered and dearly missed.

Leave your memories of Burton and view his tribute online at

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