Buster Burleson, 89, of Banner Elk, passed away on Wednesday, June 11, 2014, at his home in Banner Elk.

Born on May 26, 1925 in the Roaring Creek community of Avery County, he was the son of Robert Jefferson and Bonnie Young Burleson.


A U. S. Navy veteran, Buster served as a radar operator in the South Pacific. After the Navy, he worked for a period of time in Baltimore, Maryland, then returned home to attend Appalachian State Teachers College. There he earned a B.S. followed by a M.A. in School Administration.

A fan of all sports, his early career in teaching included coaching football and basketball at Cranberry High School. During his tenure both teams enjoyed great success; Buster was named Most Outstanding Basketball Coach in the Parkway Conference for the 1962-63 season.

When the Avery County Schools consolidated, he was appointed to the positions of Assistant Principal and Athletic Director of Avery County High School. In 1970 he was named Principal at Crossnore Elementary, where the school was selected to pilot the first kindergarten in Avery County. While at Crossnore, Buster was honored as Principal of the Year. After several years of serving as Principal of Elk Park Elementary School, he retired from his career in education.

Skyline Telephone Membership Corporation was a major part of Buster’s life. Where there, he served on the Board of Directors for 33 years, as vice-President of Skyline from 1994 to present, and as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Skybest Communications from 2002 until his death. His passion for education made serving as Chairman of the Scholarship Committee for Skyline a special joy. On a bigger scale, he was on the Meetings Committee of the National Telephone Cooperative Association.

Buster loved woodworking, antiquing, and listening to bluegrass music. He was known to tell a great story and could crack a mean joke.

Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by a sister, Alma Hughes.

Buster is survived by his wife, Jackie Burleson, daughter Michelle Aldridge of Parkville, Maryland, son Brad Burleson and wife Kathryn of Asheville. He was also blessed with five grandchildren: Riley, Payton, Bailey and Reagan Aldridge and Holden Glenn Burleson, and a sister, Ruth Harris of Black Mountain.

A member of Mount Calvary Baptist Church of Banner Elk, Buster served on church committees and the Board of Deacons.

A Celebration of Life will be held at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church with the date and time to be announced in a few days.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate memorials to Mount Calvary Land Acquisition Fund PO Box 125, Banner Elk, NC 28604 or to Medi Home Health & Hospice of Newland, PO Box 1357, Newland, NC 28657.

Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com

Austin & Barnes Funeral Home & Crematory is serving the Burleson Family.

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