Friends remember elderly woman slain in Farmington

Posted June 24, 2011, at 5:22 a.m.
Last modified June 24, 2011, at 10:07 a.m.

FARMINGTON, Maine — Leafing through the pages of her 1947 Farmington High School yearbook, “The Laurel,” Lois Seamon points to several classmates who live locally and get together regularly.

Missing is her very best friend, Grace Burton.

Burton, 81, died early Tuesday morning after being stabbed repeatedly by an intruder at her apartment on Route 4 where she’s lived for nearly a dozen years.

Grace Bachelder Butterfield Burton and Seamon grew up in the Farmington Falls area. Burton’s sister married Seamon’s brother. They both loved to play cards and keep up on politics and state government, Seamon said.

They thought a lot alike. They knew their vote counted and would make calls for their political party before elections.

Burton was a reserved woman, except when she was around her family and friends. She had a great sense of humor, but she wasn’t normally enthusiastic, Seamon said.

On Monday, Seamon went to visit Burton at her apartment.

“The last time I saw her, she was so happy,” Seamon said.

Her last memory of her friend is how excited she was about a weekend visit to one of her sons and the opportunity to see her grandchildren and watch grandsons play baseball, Seamon said. Burton also called her sister who lives out West and talked for a long time about her grandchildren, Seamon said.

“She was a fun person, a nice person who was dedicated to her family,” said Genella Butterfield, who also went to high school with Burton and played cards with her weekly. Butterfield married the brother of Burton’s late husband.

Sometimes, the six card players would go to a movie or go out to lunch, she said.

Neither friend could understand why Burton was attacked.

She liked to stay up until 2 or 3 a.m., sitting in her recliner watching television, then sleeping until mid-morning, Seamon said. She imagines she was sitting in her recliner when the attacker came in the bedroom window. She probably didn’t even hear him, Seamon said.

Several years ago, her friend survived breast cancer.

“We laughed every day,” Seamon said. “That was our medicine.”

Burton was a strong woman, Seamon said. Four years ago, her friend fell while doing laundry in her apartment. She broke a hip and lay there for three days before she was found, Seamon said.

“We never know who’s watching us,” she said, trying to understand why Burton was killed.

Burton had four boys with her first husband and a boy and a girl with her second. She lost one son in a truck accident.

She was a good, loving mother and grandmother, Butterfield said.

Burton didn’t want a funeral. The family is still deciding on a memorial service, Seamon said.

Part of Sunday’s service at 9 a.m. at the Union Baptist Church will be devoted to remembering Burton, who supported and attended special events at her church. Seamon and Burton attended the Farmington Falls church as children.

Some church members have requested the special service, the Rev. John Tolman said.

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