Dr. Ashby Jeffries Burton III, M.D., “Jeff,” retired from the Rural Health group October 15, 2021 after 36 years of service. He graduated from the University of Richmond, then furthered his education at Eastern Virginia Medical School where he graduated in 1982. He completed his residency at Portsmouth Family Medicine in 1985.
Upon completing his Family Practice Residency in Portsmouth VA in the summer of 1985, 36 years ago, Dr Jeff Burton began his practice in the Northampton County town of Rich Square.
This practice was initially located in a storefront in downtown Rich Square.
As is still true today, Dr Burton put his whole soul into serving the citizens of Rich Square and the surrounding area.
He both lived and worked in Rich Square, while also taking care of patients in the hospital in Roanoke Rapids.
In those days we did not have ER doctors or Hospitalist to care for patients at the hospital.
The physicians in the community took turns covering the ER, caring for patients in the hospital and being on call.
It was probably not unusual for Dr Burton to have to make the 30 minute drive from Rich Square to Roanoke Rapids in the middle of the night to see a patient, get them cared for, end up sleeping in the hospital call room, make morning rounds on his patients in the hospital and still get back to Rich Square to see patients in the office the next morning.
While working in Rich Square, he met a young pharmacist at the hospital, Paula, who became his soulmate and life partner.
He began his career with the Rural Health Group, beginning in Rich Square. Dr. Burton moved to the Lake Gaston office in 1994 until his retirement. From 1985-2008 he was on the medical staff of Halifax Regional Medical Center. During his 36 years of practice, he was a preceptor for many UNC and ECU medical students.
There is no way to know how many young doctors spent time with Dr. Burton who still look back and remember pearls that he shared with them.
There are many words that describe Dr Burton’s relationships with patients, family, colleagues, neighbors and the community. Here are just a few:
Humble, Caring, Faithful, Loyal, Quiet, Unassuming, Teacher , Mentor, Friend
Most importantly, he has truly embodied what it means to be a servant leader. Being a representative for and modeling the Compassion of Christ to all who he encountered.
On his retirement, Dr. Burton said, “I am grateful for the many years spent serving this community. I want to thank everyone in the Rural Health Group, past and present, patients, and the community for their confidence and support.”
Rural Health Group’s leadership and staff, would like to say, thank you, Dr. Burton for being a “good and faithful servant”.
We wish you much happiness in your retirement and consider ourselves richly blessed to have been on this journey with you.